Being raised Baptist, I was always told that John 3:16 was all I had to do. Just ask Christ into my heart and all is forgiven. From a human standpoint, that is very hard to fathom. The bible says we are all sinners, and the punishment is death. By believing in Christ, we get to live. We are told that our slate has been wiped clean. Let's see there are more cliches. We have been washed by his blood. We are made pure. I think you get the point. When we get to heaven and go “God I'm so sorry! he is going to ask, “About what?” I already forgave you.
Then in Mathew 7 Jesus says, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Woa! Dude that's a little harsh. What the heck?
Then in verse 24 he says, “24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
In the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray saying “Forgives us sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” So does this mean that if I don't forgive people I'm saying to God, “It's OK, NOT to forgive me.” That makes that sentence a little more powerful don't you think? It also sounds like my slate is not completely clean. Which the bible states over and over that is IS.
Is it by Faith or by Works?
So who is Jesus talking to when he says “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.” To this I want to point out the last word “DOERS.” People that DO.
Your sin will not keep you from heaven. We have seen Jesus forgive a woman who was caught in the act of having sex. Jesus told the crowd that anyone who is without blame could cast the first stone. Jesus told her “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He told her to change. This is one of the keys.
When we say we believe, we have changed the way we think. We turn from out old way and say “I want to go this way.”
I Gained Three Pounds on Weight Watchers
My wife and I joined weight watchers together. We said we wanted to lose weight. She lost double digits while I gained three pounds. The problem was I said I wanted to lose weight, but my actions did not differ at all. Sure I tracked my points, and I read the pamphlets. I went to meetings and listened to people tell me to eat less and exercise more. Meanwhile I still visited all the fast food restaurants that I always did. I still used food to self medicate me when I got stressed. I had a card in my wallet that said I was a weight watchers member, but nobody would've guessed it when they saw me in the drive-thru. Meanwhile my wife quit eating snacks, she exercised, she was focused on changing her lifestyle. The pounds just melted away as she began to transform her body.
If I went to my weight watchers guru and said, “I do, I do want to lose weight!” I could see him saying “Away from me, you evildoers.”
But I'm Not Perfect
Jesus knows you're not going to be perfect. While he may hear your words, and see your actions, what I feel is that God is a just God. God see's our hearts. In Luke 16:15 it says, “He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.”
Being a christian is not easy. In Jeremiah 29:13 it says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When I was trying to lose weight, it took an all day commitment to stay on track. God wants us to be committed to reading his word, and DOING it.
If you go back a few verse in the famous “Lord, Lord” scripture (Luke 6:45) Jesus says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
What is Filling You Up?
What do you see every day? What do you hear every day? The world is trying to fill us up with nonsense. We need to put Christ in our life on a DAILY basis. This way there is no room for the lies and deceit the world is trying to get us to choke down.
When we focus on his word, it goes into our brain. The brain controls the body, and finally when the brain and the body work together the heart is filled with the undeniable knowledge that God loves us and has a plan for you.
You are forgiven, you are clean. Don't let people identify you by your mistakes in the past. God has made you clean. Be happy as a person who is set free from prison after receiving a life sentence. Your life should have a definitive “Before Jesus” and “After Jesus” style and they should be noticeably different.
I love this song by Clay Crosse “saving the World”