Monday, August 3, 2009

Salvation - Can It Be Obtained Or Retained By Works?

One of my pet peeves about the UPCI (and every other legalistic organization I've encountered) is that works are always taught as requirements of Salvation. The main examples of this are required baptism in Jesus name only, mandatory tithing of 10% of gross income (and usually required offerings too), mandatory attendance of services, and absolute compliance with a strict set of standards defining dress, conduct, even hair style.

There are two issues with this and those are number one that the Bible says that our Salvation was paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross and is guaranteed for all that believe on Him, and number two that the standards required are flexible in certain circumstances.

Let me elaborate: We were always taught that makeup was wrong because it meant you were trying to be seductive and fake like Jezebel in the Bible (side note: her intentions are not defined in the Bible when she dolled herself up, but legalistic cult leaders say she intended to seduce the man coming to kill her. But what's amusing about that belief is that makeup predated Jezebel by centuries, possibly a millennia). However, the same people saying that mascara and lipstick, and rouge etc are bad, immoral, blah blah blah, don't mind when someone uses cover up to conceal a pimple, or lip gloss to make their lips shinier. Hypocrites. If you teach against artificial beautification, then you preach against it. Period. I don't buy for one second that the lip gloss is to prevent dry lips....that's what blistex and chapstick are for...and they don't make your lips shiny or a different colour.

Dress standards were rigidly enforced EXCEPT if you were the pastor's son, daughter, wife. Or a new convert. The latter makes sense UNLESS you examine the fact that the rest of the congregation is taught NO FREAKIN PANTS ON WOMEN OR YOU'LL BURN!!! Ok, so if I'm a woman (hypothetically) and I wear pants so I'm going to burn, then what's the difference between me and that lady over there? Not a thing in God's eyes. It's men that differentiate. And Men that create these ridiculous standards. I do disagree with pants on women for the most part, but seriously, if my wife was a nurse and had to climb up on a gurney to do CPR on some guy that just quit breathing, you can darn well believe that I prefer she be wearing a full length pair of loose fitting pants than a knee length skirt that some guy is going to look up. A full fitting pair of pants is far more modest than a great number of the skirts I see worn by UPCI licensed pastor's wives and daughters.

But that's all academic. Because John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have Everlasting life."

John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"

John 7:37-39 "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Even Paul stressed faith and belief in God rather than works...and he was a Jew of the Jews. He was raised on the Law, yet he renounced it and actively taught against it, especially in the book of Hebrews.

Yes there are fruits associated with the faithful, and there are things that someone who trusts in and believes in God will not do. But these do not buy, obtain, retain, or ensure Salvation. They are exhibited by those with true faith in God. They cannot be legislated by an organization or "Pastor". They must come from a sincere belief in God. Baptism does not buy is caused by Salvation. Modesty and humility do not cause salvation...they are fruits of it. Tithing and church attendance do not bring blessing...they are the result of blessings brought by faith in God.

The fallacious statement by a pastor that he has to "force people into blessings" is ridiculous. It's the self-righteous, arrogant, selfish statement of a man that enjoys power and authority. True belief in Jesus Christ will bring the fruits that these people try to legislate. It will also bring freedom to live with peace and joy and harmony.

Legalistic organizations sneeringly refer to this as easy believism. So, the question I want to end with is this: Is it easier to believe that God came as a man to earth 2000 years ago and lived and died to buy our salvation and we must believe? Or to follow the lead of some self-proclaimed midlife "elder" (pastor) that says he will lead us to heaven, and abdicate our own responsibility to search the scripture? Haven't we heard of these types of things before? Waco? Hale-Bopp? Which is easier?

God Bless You

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