The Laziest Christian in the World

Still saved!

Everything about us is geared toward action. We are a busy, busy people. It’s great! We do stuff. We move; we go; we participate; we enliven; we improve; we change; we conquer; we build. We are born to answer our own call to alter.

The one place though, where doing nothing is doing everything, is with God. There everything has already been done. If you believe in the phenomenon of Jesus Christ, then you believe that through him you are, without condition or qualification, reconciled to God.

John the Divine tells us that Jesus’ final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” Not, “It is finished, more or less.” Not, “It’s pretty darn close to being finished.” Not, “It is finished, as long as the people it’s finished for pitch in and do their part.”

No. Just, “It is finished.” It’s done. It’s over. Mission accomplished. Through the sacrifice of Jesus your relationship with God was established in the moment, and forever.

So where are you going? Where are you going? What needs your attention? Toward what end are you exercising your will?

What’s left for you to do?

What part of “finished” don’t you get?

Yes, yes, yes: Good works are beautiful and necessary. We must right wrong where we find it. No question. And certainly there is much in the world which necessarily keeps us busy as beavers: We must eat. We must work. Somebody needs to drive the kids to soccer practice. That lawn’s not going to mow itself.

But every so often we have got to remember that part of being a Christian is knowing that it’s perfectly okay for us to be the laziest Christian in the history of fallen man. In God we have every last reason to do nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Right now, sitting on my couch, I am saved. I’m as saved as I would be if I were duct-taping limbs back onto people in a leper colony. (Oh, great. Now I’m going to hell. See what happens when you try to do stuff like tell stupid jokes?)

I am saved; the believing wino on the street is saved, the saint working with the poor and destitute is saved. No one Christian can be more saved than another. None of us is going to a better heaven. Jesus didn’t die more for one of us than the other.

Through Jesus, I’m saved. If I go to church, I’m saved. If I don’t go to church, I’m saved. If I spend four hours a day reading the Bible, I’m saved. If I don’t know Revelations from Jingle Bells, I’m saved.

Working with the homeless? Saved.

Staying home all day watching television? Still saved!

Yes, being saved means I’m not comfortable staying home and watching TV, because now I have too much life in me for that.

But if I turn off the TV, sit up straight, close my eyes, breath deep, and just be with God? If thusly I do as little as it’s humanely possible to do while still awake?

Then how could I possibly do more?

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • mimic

    Thanks for the reminder, John. I don't spend enough time being still and present with God.

  • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

    Great reminder. Thanks!

  • Bill

    True but…elsewhere the Bible tells us that "faith without good works is useless" (james). I've heard such seeminly contradictory statements in the bible referred to as "Holy tension". A paradox.

    We are presented with both sides and are given discernment by the Holy spirit to understand when, between being still and taking action, we must apply to each circumstance.

    • Diana A.

      My view of this passage is that faith (in general) leads to works–that is, no one does anything without believing in the worth of that activity. So, one can claim to have faith in something or someone, but if one's actions don't reflect that "faith", then it's not really faith (and thus, is dead.) Of course, I could be wrong.

  • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

    Saved for what, I wonder?

    • http://none Don Rappe

      God, I love questions like this.

      • Femi Akinware

        Saved from sin, hell and God's anger. Saved for heaven and eternity with God. Saved t "not perish but have eternal life". You could add, saved to glorify God and to enjoy Him.

        Methinks!

  • Robert Meek

    It is hard to figure out how this is meant, John. It is pure satire about lazy (Christian) people, or is it a tongue-in-cheek satire sanction of Calvinism's "once saved, always saved" Predestination doctrine.

    Growing up in the ELCA Synod of the Lutheran church and being dragged through a list of fundamental Pentecostal churches, as a kid (do you REALLY want the list?)

    • Lutheran

    • Christian Reformed

    • Charismatic (breakaway from the Christian Reformed church)

    • Assembly Of God

    • Church of God (Cleveland TN, not Anderson IN, they are quick to say)

    • Pentecostal Holiness

    • Foursquare

    • Charismatic Lutheran

    • Charismatic nondenominational

    • probably more, forgotten

    and also through a list of "private Christian schools" (which I shall omit, only to edit as did public school in grades 3, 6, and part of 7 at my request, and to add that grades 9 and 10 of high school were a "Christian Reformed" church-based high school), in which the grades 9 and 10 taught me how the Calvinists took Predestination to heart.

    I remember having an argument with my guidance counselor who maintained he could be in the middle of committing adultery and he'd go to heaven.

    Whom God foreknew He foreordained. In other words, Christians, (and he as a Christian), were Predestined (doomed) to be one and go to heaven no matter what they said, or did, and the non-Christians were Predestined (doomed) to be one and go to hell no matter what they said, or did.

    And they meant it.

    And it showed.

    The school was rife with violence, little gangs, bullies, but they were Christians and going to heaven no matter what they said, or did, because their parents were Christians and told them they were, too.

    Go to South Holland, Illinois, John, a suburb of Chicago. Immerse yourself in their culture. Study them, listen to them, watch closely.

    I suspect you will want to edit this blog after doing so.

    • http://Facebook Michael Beeson

      I think what you miss is that through action they change their relationship to God. I suspect that leaders of many of the cliques you speak of in these private schools did not believe, and almost certainly have decided not to listen to the small gentle, and unassuming voice that is God. John's point is that you must believe.

      If I believe I am lead away from poor decisions, I listen for the voice, and heed it's quiet reminder, but if I believe more strongly in myself, and turn away many wrong paths can be found. To say you are Christian is not to be Christian. For words are not reality, or ideals, they are tools that fall short of true meaning. What is in your heart and mind are what bind you to, or do not bind you to God.

      At least that's how I feel it….

      • Diana A.

        "To say you are Christian is not to be Christian. For words are not reality, or ideals, they are tools that fall short of true meaning. What is in your heart and mind are what bind you to, or do not bind you to God."

        I love this! This is so true!

    • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

      As I read it, John was highlighting that we are saved by Grace, and not by works. This is not to say that works are useless – indeed Jesus certainly teaches that we should get off the couch and go and be a living testament to the Grace that has saved us:

      "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:15-16)

      But doing good works does not earn our salvation.

  • http://aldenswan.com Alden

    People forget, however, that the same grace that saves us is at work in our lives conforming us to the image of God — and God is anything but lazy. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives will produce fruit; if there is no fruit – no good works, as James talks about – then what kind of faith do we have?

    It is true that there is nothing we can add to the work of Christ for either salvation or holiness; however, if we follow Christ and are being conformed into his image, then we, too, will be doing the work of the Kingdom. We won't be able to help it.

    A lazy Christian may be saved, or not… one thing is for sure: laziness is not a fruit of the Spirit.

    • Tim

      Amen, Alden. Show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works. However, to be honest my faith and my works aren’t technically my own. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. He who began a good work (in us) will bring it to completion at the day of Christ’s return. Goodness abides me if I abide in Him. If I don’t abide in Him, my labor is in vain.

  • Kim

    To Robert Meek: I sympathize as my husband has a background similar to yours.

    One thing to note however…being saved comes from choice. Once you are truly saved, after you have finally opened your ears, eyes, and heart to God, and admitted that you want and need Jesus' saving sacrifice in your life, you are changed. You are not saved because your parents are Christians and they've sent you to the "right" schools and you've attended the "right" denomination of church your whole life. You are not saved because you were born into a Christian family. A person must ask Jesus to come into their heart and life and once that truly happens, the behaviors you've described would cease. They have to…once Jesus is truly in your heart, there is no more desire for those things you've described. Do we falter? Yes, we certainly do and we continue to display poor judgment.

    But the truly saved are no longer lazy, violent, or complacent. They are alive in and with Christ and want to do everything they can to show it.

    Kim

  • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

    I can hardly recount the time, energy, years I've spent unnecessarily working for God when He didn't need me to accomplish His plan. All along He wanted my company. He desired my love. He pursued my heart while I was off performing for Him as if that might ever impress Him.

    I love this post. Exactly the conversation I've been having lately.

    Abiding in Him and He in me (John 15:5) is so much more intimate than I ever recognized it to be before.

    That, the relationship, just the relationship, that I can even HAVE the relationship is blessing from God enough. "Apart from Him" (away from that on-going intimacy) everything I can do, no matter how good "bear[s] no fruit" even if it looks shiny and good to other people. It's just dung compared to knowing Him.

    Exactly, John. Precisely.

  • Lisbeth

    Hi John,

    I've been lurking here on your site for about 2 months now, and I've been wanting to write to you since that first time. Today's posting finally spurred me to action. I can't tell you enough how much I love your blog. I stumbled upon it one day and I've been hooked ever since. I feel like I've found a kindred spirit in what I believe but have been unable to properly articulate. You say (so perfectly, and so wittily, and so to the point) all the things that have been sort of rolling around in the back of my head for quite some time in regards to Christianity and being a Christian and "doing" Christianity. After reading today's missive, I just had to write. You have summed up so succinctly what Christ has done for us on the cross. HE died for us, once and for all, and it's done, and it's perfect. We can never add anything to his saving work on the cross. All we have to do is accept that amazing gift.

    I love this:

    "John the Divine tells us that Jesus’ final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” Not, “It is finished, more or less.” Not, “It’s pretty darn close to being finished.” Not, “It is finished, as long as the people it’s finished for pitch in and do their part.”

    No. Just, “It is finished.” It’s done. It’s over. Mission accomplished. Through the sacrifice of Jesus your relationship with God was established in the moment, and forever."

    Having been born and raised in the Lutheran church, I was inundated with the concept of Grace, God's free gift to us, from the first moment I can remember. As I got older I moved away from the church in general. You know… there were so many other interesting things grabbing my attention!
    :-D Eventually, after marriage and a couple of kids we made our way back to the Lutheran church but felt it stodgy. So began our quest to find the "perfect" church. At first we were attracted to the music and dynamics of the large non-denominational churches around. It seemed like all our friends were involved with those kinds of churches. But eventually we tired of that whole "living the victorious Christian life" thing that is so often the main gist of so many churches, although if you had asked us we probably couldn't really have put our finger on what exactly bothered us about it. There was so much that centered around living like a "good" Christian, living a "good" Christian life, doing the things that "good" Christians do.

    We did eventually find our way back to another Lutheran church in our area and finally felt like we'd found our "home." We've been here for 15 years and have been very happy but we have also "settled" into the routine of things. I found your blog and your amazing writing at just the right time. You've brought clarity to my beliefs. I think some of the first blogs of yours that I read were those dealing with the "Great Commandment vs Great Commission" idea, and columns you wrote about homosexuality and Paul and the hypocrisy surrounding the whole issue. For me, you really hit the nail on the head in regards to those topics. I've often felt very uncomfortable with the idea of "witnessing". I realize now it is far more effective to just love those people around you and that that love can be a seed that is planted and germinated in other people's lives. How comforting to realize that we don't have to judge people or convince other people about God. That's His job. We're here to love people and love Jesus and let that shine through. You've reminded me once again that Grace is all we need, once and for all.

    John, again, thank you for your insightful and clear thoughts. You are a blessing to me and I know to

    many others as well. Keep at it. You're doing an amazing thing here.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      How lovely. Thank you, Lisbeth.

  • Marie

    Wow. I loved reading this today. “Saved…. Still saved!….”

    Thanks, John!!

    I’m smiling as this also just reminded me of a status my friend Meredith had a week ago: Spanish Proverb “It’s beautiful to do nothing and then rest afterwards.”

    It is cool and October-like here. Just finished drizzling and I sat outside with the dog enjoying it all.

    I love how you wrote all of this!! It resonated in the happiest, most easy-going way. Thank you!

    Personally, and this may sound really horrible, but honestly? I never got ANYWHERE (never felt inspired, at peace, etc…) setting aside time to “talk to God”, “Thank God” or even “Ask God a question”, much less leaving the house and getting dressed up for a whole ‘nuther location to DO SO. When I learned to sit still, surround myself with all the non man-made things (trees, stars, raindrops….) and just shut the hell up and LISTEN – nothing else, nothing more – it made all the difference.

    Now, the “Thanks” and “Gratitude” parts? For me, that is felt as the most beautiful force of warmth, weightlessness and Light coming up OUT of my heart and expanding. I have my own private hunch that “that’s” a helluva lot louder and fancier than anything my brain and vocal chords could produce (and it leaves my ego entirely removed from the equation). I’m content today with my own knowing that, on some level, as long as I shut up and listen, I’m heard, as well.

    As far as “saved” goes, I never understood how that was supposed to be understood. I’m not curious about it, either. And I “have” tried to figure it out. Seeing as how I can’t and don’t have the natural curiosity, it must not be for me. And that’s cool, because the things that ARE for me wouldn’t be embraced by “everyone” either.

    I have my one piece of broken mirror that I aim at the sky on any given day to regard the reflection. Another person with his/her piece of broken mirror by which to do the same would describe the reflection quite differently from mine.

    I believe all the broken pieces originated from the same mirror once upon a time and that there can be no wrong descriptions.

    Thanks again, I am so glad I read what you wrote up here today!! :)

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I suppose we must find the ones with whom our broken pieces fit, bring them together with our own and bind them fast, so as to better reflect the image of our Maker.

      Beautiful analogy, Marie! God bless!

  • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

    And no one is particularly bothered by an interpretation that Jesus apparently sacrificed himself for a metaphor derived from a myth that drives the notion of being ‘saved’?

    It just seems to me that trying to live a theology that focuses one’s attention on the next life is rather counterproductive to living an authentic and purposeful one in this life.

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      The theologically justified laziness John writes about is a case in point to what I mean.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      I think you’re making an assumption that to believe life is eternal has no impact to how one lives and contributes in the Present.

      • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

        Quite the contrary, DR; I think believing in the next life does have quite the impact. That's why I write that it seems to me to be counterproductive.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          I really must be more attentive to closing my bold. Of course, that should read:

          Quite the contrary, DR; I think believing in the next life does have quite the impact.

          See? Paying attention to the present is always good advice.

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            One thing I do know is that you’re smarter than I’ll ever be, so I always need to read through your comments a few times to make sure I understand.

            It seems reasonable that it could create a laziness that borderlines on destructive negligence, a kind of pathological indifference. An “I’m saved so no matter what I do or don’t do, there are no consequences.” I’m a Catholic so I don’t quite line up with the whole “I’m saved regardless of what I do” thing, so I’m a bit speculative of this as well.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Because I'm so argumentative I am going to disagree with that first sentence of yours!

            It's not a question IF belief causes laziness or busyness or appreciation or mediation or whatever; it's that such a belief has what I think is a counterproductive impact. And the reason for that is because it shifts the locus of control/ownership of the chosen activity and its costs/benefits and the reasons that inform the choice from the individual to this unseen agency.

            When we do something because we think it is what some divine agent wants us to do, we are doing it for a different reason than if we freely choose to do exactly the same action. And that shift has an impact on the underlying reasons for our motivations, which adversely affects our sense of responsibilities that derive from them.

            I know that sounds confusing so bear with me for a minute.

            In other words, there is an impact from my beliefs if I give you money because I think god wants me to, compared to giving you money because I want to. There is a significant difference between doing something because god thinks its the right thing to do and doing something that I think is the right thing to do. And that difference lies in accepting responsibility; in the case of the former, the responsibility lies with god (a tough agent to pin down long enough to argue against) whereas in the latter case the responsibility lies squarely with me. I – and no one else – bear full responsibility for my actions.

            This difference is abused all the time where religious belief is used to justify actions and policies with no recourse for actual discussion about merits and reasons. In the case of the catholic church to which you identify, one needs to look no further for the immutable misogynistic policies it practices; the standard justification is that these practices just so happen to be correctly attributed to honouring god's wishes. Isn't that handy if you want to maintain these practices for ever? But is it right?

            Is it fair to excommunicate a woman for advocating to be ordained a minister but a lesser offense to rape a child as a priest? Well, when one can attribute the former to merely putting into practice 'god's wishes' but the latter a matter of worldly wickedness in need of therapy and personal reform, then you see the problem and how much impact the locus of control in fundamental belief can have.

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Tildeb, you are my atheist doppelganger.

            (there is much to respond to here, but I want to give it more than my drive by "I am in between meetings and need to be constantly stimulated" mode.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Without any argument, I'll take that as a compliment, DR!

  • Mindy

    I gotta go with tildeb on this one. I appreciate your reminder, John, that “no one Christian is more saved than another,” – but that right there gets to the heart of my problem with Christianity. As long as you “believe,” your afterlife is secure – no matter how many you trounce upon along the way.

    One can argue, of course, that anyone who is truly saved, who truly believes, would never trounce upon his/her fellow human beings in this life. But I’ve known far too many people who hurt others and appear to feel no remorse, offer no apologies, make no amends – yet still profess to believe with absolute certainty that they are in for an eternity of bliss.

    THIS life is all we have. Or at least all that we know we have, regardless of our beliefs. Even all who believe in the afterlife don’t know the details of what they hope awaits them. Making the most of THIS life is all we can do, and that should include concern and compassion and consideration for all the other human beings we encounter along the way. That seems to me to be the essence of what Jesus taught.

    I just hate seeing those who teach His message living in ridiculously opulent circumstances, and many who profess to believe his message gaining their own opulent circumstances off the backs of others. I don’t envy their wealth, but it does seem to work at cross-purposes sometimes to what they preach.

    I’d rather they be lazy – taking time out to just be, instead of following the “whoever has the most toys at the end of the game is the winner” philosophy, calling it Christianity.

    • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

      I'm with DR. The connotations of the word "saved" might suggest eternity only, but it's the "too much life in me" that's actually the difference in my daily living. I'm absolutely awakened to my need for a savior and instantly grateful to have found one who actually wants to know and love me, be known and loved. That makes my Present worth living.

      • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

        Welcome to the world of the bicameral brain.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Does “saved” mean just eternal? I suppose I think of heaven at times, but I don’t know if it even exists so I don’t even know how to think about it. The Present Moment that Jesus transforms is so powerful, I find myself fairly focused on it instead of heaven. Perhaps I’m short-sighted or just not a great Christian (both are potentially true), but I’m like the Jew of the bunch. I don’t really focus on what happens after I die, there is too much of Jesus to experience here in the Present moment for me to even try to figure that out.

      • http://none Don Rappe

        I'm with you on this.

    • Diana A.

      "But I’ve known far too many people who hurt others and appear to feel no remorse, offer no apologies, make no amends – yet still profess to believe with absolute certainty that they are in for an eternity of bliss."

      My personal opinion is that those who willfully hurt others and then claim to be "saved" are probably due for a nasty shock–though I'm always hopeful that they will learn their lesson early rather than late.

  • http://fairtilizer.com/users/Voicedude Voicedude

    Great article, John!

    It is never by works alone, nor do more works somehow get you more saved. And often our ‘guilt’ over doing nothing leads to the kind of actions where it would’ve been better if we HAD done nothing!

    And I understand the tone our your article, being more about not beating yourself up with guilt rather than promoting sloth.

    But most importantly with your finish, I think we must never underestimate alone time with God.

    Besides being the Prince of Lies, the Enemy is also a master of distraction. Society is geared for that lifestyle and heavily promotes it, and so the Enemy can convince us to think about ourselves first and bring out our selfishness. He can show us beautiful flesh and get us aroused, or dangle shiny, glittering objects and create greed. We often busy ourselves up SO much that we don’t make any time to be with God at all. And that IS an action He requires us to take. We I find myself becoming too distracted, I know that I must take this action and force myself to shut the world out and reconnect with Him.

    Be still, and know that I am God…. – Ps. 46:10

    • http://none Don Rappe

      Saved from the Prince of Lies. I think I'm starting to tune in now.

  • gooseberrybush

    I wholeheartedly agree with this post, with one caveat. The reason the book of James says that faith without works is dead is not because works are required for salvation. Rather, works are the natural products of a grateful, saved heart. And you cannot truly be the recipient of salvation without a grateful heart. Thus, faith without works is no faith at all.

    • Diana A.

      This. This is what I was trying to get at in my comment above. Thanks, gooseberrybush!

      • gooseberrybush

        You're welcome. :)

  • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

    Yes, being saved means I’m not comfortable staying home and watching TV, because now I have too much life in me for that.>>>

    This is such a significant sentence, at least for me. I don’t expect to be like anyone else, but for me I continue to experience the experience of being “saved” through the course of my life, particularly since I’ve moved to my new city. I feel like God as the Redeemer and Rescuer shows up in ways that I didn’t even understand when I realized He died for me and I wanted whatever that was. I just wanted it. He saves me from myself, he has certainly cleared the way in my job here in ways the last few days have been completely miraculous. From relationships that are harmful in ways I didn’t even know, delivering me into relationships that are supportive and challenging and just exactly what I need.

    That realization that He *continues* to save me in all manner of life has shocked me into a recommitment to Him in the last few months. And with that kind of rescue comes the kind of thankfulness and excitement and joy that makes me want to get off the couch and get more involved in this life I’ve been given.

    • Tim

      Agree totally.

      I’ve spent the last couple years licking my wounds after an abrupt and painful divorce. At times I still buy into the lie that I was rejected because I was dysfunctional, so how could I be functional or useful to anyone else. Then I think about soup. I always stir the pot before serving up a helping. In similar fashion, I believe God uses us best when we are stirred up after a painful episode in life. Humiliation seems to be prerequisite to humility. At least that’s true for myself.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        A friend of mine who is going through a divorce recently told me, “Think about getting into a really bad car accident. And then imagine waking up every morning knowing you’re going to get into the same car accident at some point during that day, you just don’t know when. Then imagine experiencing that for about 6 months in a row. That is what going through a divorce feels like.”

        Which sounds about right.

  • http://none Don Rappe

    For the moment I'm thinking that I need to be saved not "for" but "from" the Liar that sometimes creeps into my bicameral brain. The one who tells me I am alone and meaningless.

  • Susan

    Love this, John, although I may have misinterpreted the message as you intended.

    For me, this has to do with the concept of "doing vs being Chistianity." If we consistently "do" behavior to prove our fruit-bearingness or seek God's favor, we are no more than the proverbial mouse on a wheel…burning energy yet getting nowhere. Continuing this practice leads to burn-out. The exhaustion of our physical, emotional and spiritual health means that we are ill-equipped to offer authentic love to ourselves, God and others. It also indicates a lack of faith in God's promise of grace, as it is a gift, not a reward. We cannot earn it, only accept it.

    God is perfect, so anything we do to be "as close to perfect as possible" will always miss the mark, because it will always be imperfect. While it seems counter-intuitive to deem all sins as equal, it is because we measure them in human terms. A perfect God can only know perfection and imperfection. Whether you put a tiny droplet of ink into a clean glass of water or you toss in a half cup of ink, the water is rendered impure. Imperfect.

    If we are open to God, rest in God, we are then replenished by God. Our fruits, then, are a reflection of God in us. We are then a vessel God can use to express His love for others. The good works are less about us and our efforts, and more about God and his purposes.

    Or something along these lines…

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I agree with your last paragraph, but… what glass of water then can ever be clean? Yet there is what’s pure enough to be acceptable for our bodies, which further purify and make use of it.

      I don’t believe it makes much sense to argue that He who is perfect can know only certain things. Would not God’s perfection imply His absolute omniscience? But you make a good point: since the fruit of the Evil One—the father of lies and deceptions—are not of our Father in Heaven, how can He judge among them? Yet for this reason His Only Begotten Son—God made Man, as a perfectly omniscient (yet perfectly benevolent) God must be, such that men's demons be known to Him, as He overcame every of their temptations—for such is not beyond the limits of man, regardless that such is the power of God—He it is who stands in Judgment of the world, and we with Him. So, we *can* be perfected and ought to work at it while we yet are not. (cf. Psalm 18:32, Mat. 5:48, 1 Cor. 13:10, Phil. 3:12-14, Col. 1:28 Heb. 7:19 & 12:28)

      Also, the Bible is chock full of examples of how God does in fact see various imperfections as variously far from perfection and does in fact view different transgressions as more or less grave. "God is perfect, so anything we do to be 'as close to perfect as possible'" (when it is truly so) is what draws us nearer to God. Heaven awaits—a free gift of God's Mercy—but we have to choose to go there. Christ is the Way, but we cannot just stand in the Way and not go anywhere; many have been quite an obstruction to others in doing so. Yet sometimes the fastest way of moving on up look an awful lot like standing still from down here below.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    Its certainly an interesting discussion. Clearly I’m no theologian, as was so thoroughly and adequately pointed out on a recent thread, but… :P

    To me this is yet another one of the mysteries of faith. We’ll be mulling it over until we meet Him face to face, and then we’ll have our answer. My thought is that intent is important, but that faith is the biggest component. Alden makes a great point saying “…laziness is not a fruit of the spirit.” If we truly have faith, if we are “Christian” in the sense that we *follow Christ* then wouldn’t the very beliefs we hold give us the conviction to be Christ-like in our actions? But I think even that is missing the point of John’s post. He’s not talking about the nasty little buggers that Robert Meeks speaks of in his response, the people that say “I’m a Christian so I’m going to Heaven.” I think, rather, that he’s talking about this constant war we have going on among people of faith. Perhaps the very argument that I was having with @OW on the premarital sex post? That my “brand” of faith was not good enough? Or that anyone’s brand of faith isn’t sufficient? Because once one believes that Christ’s death was the purchase price for us to have eternal life with God, the rest? Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if we’re Pentecostal or Baptist or Catholic or Episcopalian. It doesn’t matter if we go to seminary or know the book of Leviticus by memory. Those things are tangential, that there IS faith is the one thing germane to the discussion.

    I think people like to think that their version of belief is superior to others. But even when it comes to actions and behaviors, we don’t truly know the hearts of others. We can’t truly discern why they do the things they do. When Robert talks about those kids who were rotten little shites in religious schools…who isn’t to say that at some point in their lives, they realized the error of their ways? How many of us who are practicing Christians haven’t been arrogant or unmindful of the path we are supposed to be walking? How many times, either minutely or majorly, have we acted in un-Christianlike ways? I know I have. Geez, I look at how hurt and mad I got in that discussion with OW and I’m embarassed at myself. And that’s the cool thing to me: God sees me through the filter of the blood of Christ. Even though He knows my heart and my terrible doubtful, un-Christ-like thoughts, at the same time He still sees that version of me that is the person I am capable of being if I were not limited by my human ways. If we accept that salvation is for all who *truly* believe in Christ, then we are relieved of the burden of judging the actions of others. God will see, God will know, and ultimately God will decide. We get to just muddle along trying to get it right, and a lot of the time we will and a lot of the time we won’t.

  • BWB

    “His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be reviled with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

    -1 Corinthians 3:13-15

  • Jeanine

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