One-Sentence Ministering: “Brownie Points”

This used to be a splinter under my nail back before I knew Jesus or read the Bible. I used to think that people shouldn’t need the threat of hell, or the reward of heaven, to act decently. That really used to get under my skin!

Before I give you my complaint and my one-sentence rebuttal, I’ll share where this belief originated:

Unfortunately, growing up I was taught that if I did good, I’d go to heaven. And if I did bad, I’d go to hell. And therefore, I needed to behave or else.

Treating God as this Santa Clause that gives or takes away based on behavior only served to confuse me. Parents should really think up other ways to encourage their kids to behave! So, I grew up thinking that doing works was the way to earn salvation.

I used to say…

“Doing good just to earn heaven is such a brownie point system πŸ™„.”

To which you might reply…

That’s literally the opposite message of The New Testament.


“Good works,” “brownie points,” “earning salvation,” you get the idea. You might hear various terms that basically mean “good works” or earning salvation.

The general idea is that I felt that people were sucking up to God, doing good things not from their heart, but from a place of fear, selfishness, or laziness. Simply put, they just didn’t want to go to hell and were walking around every day trying to earn salvation.

And if someone had told me that this is literally the opposite message of The New Testament, my jaw would have hit the floor. (It actually did decades later, when I finally read the entire Bible).

We are not saved by goody-goody desperate attempts, like putting in coins and getting out heaven!

We are saved by Grace alone, through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).


I used to say this so often, and none of my Christian friends thought to correct me πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ I had many “silent Christian” friends, and just one sentence from them could have helped me so much! Just one tiny correction can turn a life around ~ I mean it!

I hope this post was helpful to you in some way πŸ™‚

Here is the first post in the series, “I’m a good person, so I don’t need Jesus.”

μ•ˆλ…•! Bye! Ciao!

jarilissima

Thanks for stopping by!

25 comments

    • You’re right! And it is, unfortunately, a very popular belief. I myself thought this was correct for many, *many* years! Thanks for reading, and I hope you and yours have a good week πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. β€˜Grace is opposed to earning and not effort’ – this helps me verbalise the difference between the brownie point system and making an effort in response to His saving grace.
    When you mentioned that you had some silent Christian friends, it made me think about ensuring that I do not let something like this slip by if I am in a similar situation. That I would lovingly correct any wrong notion or understanding of scripture or faith.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! I feel like I used to put the cart before the horse. We don’t do good deeds TO get saved, but rather we are saved and THEN inspired to do good deeds.

      I think lovingly correcting will work out for you, especially face to face with friends πŸ™‚ That’s what friends are for!

      Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this! While I did not experience this as an unbeliever, I have seen it in others and I am compelled to share with them (nicely) that God is not a Genie or Santa Claus. There are also believers who treat the Lord as their own personal Genie and Santa Claus as well but that’s a whole other issue!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right! And that is also spread by mega preachers like Joyce Meyer. I used to watch her and would often think that she was in it for the rewards.

      “Plant a seed” to get a reward, and “God will pay you double for your trouble!” Um, or maybe He won’t, and that’s fine, too πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

      I stopped watching her a long time ago, though πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of Nathan’s co-workers was text me how she heard Joyce Meyer and wants to get her books. I said to her, β€œshe is not sound.” She said thanks and she’ll try to keep that in mind if she sees her on tv again πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joyce just promises too much that isn’t in the Bible, and uses Jeremiah 29:11 (only 29:11) to justify this system. And oddly enough, the seed you have to plant to get rewards is sending her money. I can’t say I’ve ever found that verse! πŸ€”πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good one, Yari! Simple and to the point. It’s sad that hundreds of millions of people who call themselves “Christian” believe they must merit Heaven as many of them are taught by their churches.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing! I’ve heard this wrong idea of brownie points so many times. It’s sad, however I am sure those of us who know the truth can continue to proclaim it! Great post. πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You know I’m not religious, myself. And yet… it seems that every time we abandon religion, other things come to take its place that are defended to the death by its new followers (think wokeness, veganism, etc). It seems we cannot live without some form of religion – and Christianity might be a better place to start than others if I’m being completely honest. I’m still not a believer but have found more respect for people who do believe in recent years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a very interesting take! And now that I think about it, you’re right, that’s really what can happen. With some of the trends I’ve seen online, I would even say that it’s cultish behavior.

      I know you’re not a believer, but if you’re ever curious or have a question, feel free to ask, I’m here πŸ™‚ I can answer as best as possible or point you in the right direction πŸ€—

      I hope you and yours have been doing well! Take care πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So many believe they are β€œChristians” and they have to earn their way to Heaven. My question is always the same, I ask them why did Jesus have to die on the cross if we could enter Heaven on our own efforts .
    Thanks for sharing this brilliant post. Your past experiences can now helps others.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for explaining this!!! I heard a lot about earning salvation through β€œworks” when I attended a Mormon church a few years ago. It’s refreshing to know it’s through faith. Thanks for sharing! πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

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