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Christ Loves

 

Saved by Jesus
Not Just Words but a Matter of the Heart

 

This sermon is inspired out of conversations I often have with many of my friends who seem like shining examples of goodness and the Holy Spirit but who seem rather led by their feelings than by instilled doctrine.
To these, I like to refer the following passage in the bible:

RO 2:13 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. [14] (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, [15] since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

For example, this one friend of mine referred to a friend of hers who she said was a Mormon but who she felt was a shining beacon of light and said she had to believe in her (and other such friends with philosophies other than "Christian") because of how she lived her life and that she simply could not believe that she will burn in hell forever only for the reason that she did not utter the words, "I believe in Jesus Christ".

I too have many friends who I would classify in the example above but who do not confess to be Christians, yet I find it hard to believe they will not be accepted into the kingdom on the simple grounds that they did not confess these words with their mouth.
This line,

RO 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

It seems that many places perhaps too much emphasis on this requirement.
I would therefore like to propose an argument contrary to this respect.
For example, one might say, "I do not believe in God but believe in Buddha". Another might say, "I do not believe in Catholics, but believe in Baptists". The point is, there is only one God.
And what is Jesus?

2CO 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: [19] that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.

Christ is an atoning sacrifice, paid for by God so as to bring us nearer to him.
To be able to come to God then, we need to ask for or accept his forgiveness. If, in the pride of our hearts, we choose rather to "earn" being saved and not depend on our creator, we will fall that much shorter of the glory.
Accepting this is an act of humility and surrendering of the heart, and focusing too much on the technicality of the name "Jesus" may be drawing us away from the essence of the point.
This is an issue of the heart and we should not place so much confidence in the verbal aspect. Think about it, someone chewing on a piece of bubble gum and saying, "Yah, sure man, I believe in the dude." Do you really think such a person has it "made", as opposed to someone who surrenders himself fully to the will of the creator, only because he calls him by a different name?
Therefore, on this technicality, I believe we can include other "religions", as long as the principle of surrender and accepting forgiveness in utter humility is maintained.

RO 9:30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; [31] but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. [32] Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." [33] As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
RO 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. [2] For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. [3] Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. [4] Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
RO 10:5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." [6] But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, `Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) [7] "or `Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). [8] But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: [9] That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. [11

Of course, what we have just read above is a translation from the original what, Greek? Does this mean that every Christian in the world who did not utter the confession, "Jesus is Lord" will burn forever in hell because he did not utter the words according to the original Greek text?
No, I would rather believe in the principle that a person could surrender to a higher being, a force of goodness, who they believe in because of what they feel in their hearts and according to which they behave in a righteous manner. In meek humility, they accept the greatness and forgiveness of this higher being, the embodiment of this forgiveness and reconciliation being Christ himself, to which/whom they surrender their will.
This is an act of the heart, which I believe God looks more favourable on than mere, insincere words.

Jesus Saves

 

 


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