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 🙄.”
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 🤦♀️ 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 🙂
안녕! Bye! Ciao!