So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

Ticket to Heaven

4/27/13           Jeremy                32
I flagged down an oncoming bicyclist at the park, apologizing for interrupting his ride and asking for his opinion - “What do you think happens after we die?”  “Oh, I’m a Christian, so I believe I will go to heaven and some people will go to hell and some to purgatory.” His name is Jeremy and I appreciated his confident attitude in declaring his Christian faith, but found his belief in purgatory troubling.  The idea that a temporary punishment can somehow pay for or purge us of our sins against an infinitely holy God goes entirely against faith in Christ alone, so I listened further to find out what his idea of being a “Christian” was.  Like so many, he simply believes it means being really, really, sorry for ones sins and trying to do good things to make up for them.  He had grown up in an evangelical family, though now, at age 32, he no longer attends church or reads the Bible, more out of neglect than rebellion.  I wondered how growing up in such an environment he had missed this major point of Christianity – that we can’t pay our way to heaven with good deeds.  I explained it several times over in different ways and each time he would agree and say he understands, but then go right back into wondering how he should change his life to please God and get that “ticket to heaven”.  The “good works” mentality seemed to be a whole world view that he just couldn’t shake.  He was very challenged by my example of “spreading the word” and felt like that would really impress God, but just what “word” would he be spreading?  That we don’t need Christ crucified because we can earn salvation?  Or that the cross wasn’t sufficient to pay for our sins, that we must add more to it to be saved?  Because of his Christian background, I didn’t use the Ten Commandments at first to help him see the true nature of his sins against God.  Finally I did, and he seemed to understand, taking his sin much more seriously.  I used Ephesians 2:8-10 to show him we are not saved by good works, but for good works:  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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