Soup, Soap And Salvation

Soup, Soap And Salvation June 21, 2019

Believers can help to make the world a better place, but is that really our main goal? Is a “social gospel” biblical?

Soup

They say that if you help others to help themselves, God is pleased, and I believe He is, but to offer the soup and soap without salvation is to leave off the most important subject; the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. If we only try to make the world a better place, but fail to share the good news with them, all we’re doing is making it a better world for them to go to hell in. It’s good to provide water wells for those who need water, but without offering the Living Water, it has no value beyond this life. Of course this doesn’t mean we do no works. Jesus Christ calls us to help the hungry, poor, sick, and in those in prison. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35-36). What they didn’t realize was what they did for others was actually the same as doing it unto Christ (Matt 25:40), so even though it’s good to help the poor and feed the hungry, unless we speak of the everlasting, sustaining Bread of Life, they will die with a full stomach but still not enter the kingdom.

Soap

The saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not from the Bible, but of course, there’s nothing wrong with being clean. That’s certainly a good thing. The Old Testament contains several laws that had to do with civil issues like waste disposal, quarantining the sick and contagious, and proper washings, but the Old Testament focus wasn’t on having the perfect society, but their living in obedience to God. God is more concerned with what’s on the inside than the outside. Jesus said that “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matt 15:11). Dietary laws are not what the kingdom is all about, so it’s not what we eat that defiles us, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matt 15:18). James gives a perfect example of what comes out of the mouth, saying that “the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). It’s good to be clean, but it’s essential that we are clean inside (2 Cor 5:21). And by the way, what comes out of our mouth reveals what’s in the heart, and God alone knows the heart. He isn’t like us who look at the outside (1 Sam 16:7), but only the “Lord, who know the hearts of all” (Acts 1:24).

Salvation

The first century church took collections for the poor, primarily for the Jerusalem Christians. They had suffered so much by the time the Apostle Peter wrote his second epistle (letter), that many were starving to death, however, never did these collections take precedence over presenting the gospel. The gospel that says Jesus is our one and only hope of being saved (Acts 4:12). The early church focused on telling the lost that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). To confess our sins means we agree with God about our sins. They’re an offense to a holy God, and that offense can only dealt with through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. To believe means more than just head knowledge…it means you act on that knowledge. I can believe in cars, but if I never drive one, can I say I’ve really believed in them or have trusted in them? What Jesus said the Martha, He says to all: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (Matt 11:25-26)? We can help a person receive some of the essential things in life, but if we fail to mention that eternal life is found only in Christ, it is not truly the work of Christ. Tragically, Jesus Christ will say to “many,” not a few, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). Those works they did were useless in eternity if they did not mention Christ.

The Social Gospel

In the Book of Jude, why did he say he “was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3)? It was because “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). What had happened was the “faith that was once delivered…to the saints” became a different gospel, and in time the some of the churches began to remake themselves into a social organization. Then a “social gospel” emerged. By doing so, they hoped to attract lots of people with lots of activities, and by doing things for others, they could feel good about themselves. This may explain why some churches tend to shy away from offending people by avoiding subjects such as repentance, sin, hell, confession, and sanctification. They’re good with collecting cloths for the poor, but not so much with sharing Christ. Many churches and many Christians have now replaced the true gospel with a real-good, feel-good, man-centered message…a “me-ology” rather than a theology…and one that focuses on things and not on Christ.

Conclusion

I hope you understand what I am saying. It’s a good thing to help the poor, visit the sick, and those in prison, but if that’s all we offer, then we’ve fallen terribly short of our calling. We are to do good works, but we do them for God’s glory (Eph 2:10), not ours, and we must mention the need for repentance and faith. We are commanded to share Christ as the only hope in this world. Helping others is fine, but it’s only temporary, and it’s not the gospel. Jesus told us what the gospel is, and it’s not a social gospel. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is an ordained elder of the Brethren Church and a Pastor and Prison Minister in the State of Kansas, but also a writer at Christian Quotes and What Christians Want to Know which address questions about the Bible. He also plants ministries like nursing home ministries, Outreach for the poor, and other evangelistic activities, and check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    Why doesn’t “jesus” fill the bellies of the hungry himself jack? Why does he need pitiful people like yourself to do something he could do with a magical thought?

    The muslims that launched a missile shooting down a US drone could be heard shouting “Alahu Akbar” over and over like the imbeciles they are after the missile hit the drone. Why couldn’t their “god” simply reach down from the heavens and pluck the drone from the sky? Why is it that this all powerful thing you grovel at the feet of is totally incapable of anything?

    Is not your “god” omnipresent jack? Doesn’t he even take care of the little sparrow? So why does he delight so much in watching suffering refusing to do a single thing about it?

    What is it going to take for you to wake up and realize just how stupid and gullible and absurd you really are?

    PS…once again..there is absolutely NO evidence for the existence of any such character as “jesus” NONE, ZERO, NADA…there are no eyewitnesses, no stenographer no first hand accounts of ANYTHING you claim as being true. NONE! It is a BOOK jack. A BOOK written by no name religious lunatics who said this and that with absolutely NO basis whatsoever in fact. Grow up! Wake up!

    • Wacka Troll

      Pud, pud, pud…. so naive…. so chilrish… so salty…. You don’t like facts do you.

      • Hi Wacka,

        What “facts” doesn’t Pud like?

    • Christiane Smith

      ” “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it.
      He came to fill it with His presence.”

      (Paul Claudel)

      • Jack Wellman

        Amen. Pray for these trolls. They are so lost, but we can undrestand why they hate God and believers (John 8:47).

        • Christiane Smith

          Hello Jack Wellman,
          I pray for all of us these days, as it’s getting harder for me to understand those differences as I have grown older . . . . we all carry burdens, I see that now. We need to help one another.
          Your suggestion of prayer is a good beginning, yes. Thanks for responding.
          God Bless!

        • Theodore A. Jones

          “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

          • Susan Jane Elohim

            The law of the Spirit or the law of Moses?

            If it was the law of Moses then why wasn’t Paul teaching the law to the Gentiles instead of delivering the Gospel?

            Go read the Bible again. The spirit is higher than the letter.

            Does God want a bunch of robot keeping law keepers or is He ushering in a new creation?

            How do you obey the law if you are not born again and if you are born again with an obedient nature what need do you have of a law that is meant for the disobedient lawless people?

            The law is a tutor for the disobedient lawless sinners. It will be in effect in the future for those who didn’t get Jesus to show them why they need him. The Bible even says the law will be around in the Millenial Age because that age includes both saints and sinners. It will be around until Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire and Jesus puts death under his feet then turns everything over to God.

            If you have a whole new mature nature in Christ why do you need the law if you obey it automatically from your spirit.

            The law is for the spiritually immature and the lawless.

            I hope you stop retarding people’s spiritual education and give them Jesus for a change. Jesus replaces the law with the spirit.

            Theology matters. If you are going to correct a pastor who went to a bible institute then you had better be able to explain it instead of just throwing out one verse to confuse everyone into submitting to your opinion. Atheists do that.

            Have a great day! God bless!

        • The “trolls” don’t hate a non-existent being, nor do they hate Christians but dislike intensely what sanctimonious type Christians advocate. Apparently, you place those who ask for evidence of God’s existence in the class that you call “trolls”, rather than try and provide any evidence. It’s an easy way to mistakenly think that you have answered people’s questions.

  • pud

    I have absolutely zero interest in joining your brain dead ridiculous mindless infantile cult of make believe and nonsense. You “know” nothing of what you speak you only regurgitate the cult memes and themes. All stupid and ridiculous child like gibberish which you can demonstrate nothing being actually real or true. Hogswallop all of it. Simple minded rubbish for simple minded people. cheers!

    • J.

      okay, maybe another time. Your assessment, perception and view is an illusion, not the other way around. Cheers to you!

      • Wacka Troll

        Pud so angry 🙂

      • pud

        No, my “perceptions” are based in reality not fantasy, not in some ancient ignorant book written by primitive savages and not based on a cult full of vacuous claims and assertions about invisible undetectable agents, demons, realms, angels, miracles etc that have NO basis whatsoever in fact.

  • Christiane Smith
    • Susan Jane Elohim

      You probably should read the Lutheran Immigration and Relief Services site:
      https://www.lirs.org/about/

    • Susan Jane Elohim

      The immigrant cages were built under the Obama administration though Pelosi likes to attack Trump about them. So politics is one big mess now.

  • Susan Jane Elohim

    Evangelism is the vine that supports the fruit (works of charity).

    Jesus is the vine and the people in Jesus do works of mercy and grace i.e. perform charity like he did.

    You can not divorce grace from good works because good works spring from grace and God’s gives all the impulses to do good in this world.