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FAITH: No bragging in Heaven

A column from Castlegar pastor Tom Kline
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.

Submitted by Tom Kline

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Biblical Christianity offers a better lifestyle than anything the secular world has to offer. Now before you throw stones at me, hear me out. Because I believe that the Bible gives us the basis for how to live our lives in accordance with the One who created our lives and designed our world, when we follow His principles, life works so much better than trying to live it our own way. So, I believe the Christian life is the best life.

However, as a Christian, I don’t feel that I am any better than anyone else. One of the reasons is that I am not always as good at living up to those principles as I ought to be. Another is that I have not attained the status of being “saved” or possessing eternal life by any merit of my own. I don’t claim the title of “Christian” because I live a good life. I claim it because I have been forgiven and saved from my sins by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way anyone obtains salvation.

The verses above, along with many other verses in the Bible, make it clear that going to heaven on the basis of being a good person is totally false. We are not saved by our works but by God’s grace, when we place our faith, not in ourselves, but in Jesus, Who died for our sins on the cross.

Notice it says that one is saved “through faith,” “not of works.” Salvation is “the gift of God.” A gift is different than a reward. A reward is earned, a gift is freely given. It is a common misconception that God allows people into heaven because they have lived a pretty good life or because they were relatively kind to others and didn’t overindulge in bad vices.

That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible declares that we are all sinners. We have committed sins, we have rebelled against the righteous commands of God and no amount to good behaviour will erase that sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sin. When we, with a repentant heart, acknowledge our sin and trust by faith Jesus to save us from our sin, God in His grace gives us the gift of salvation.

Therefore, no Christian can boast, we are simply sinners who have been saved by the wonderful grace of God.

Notice the final sentence in the verses above. Once we are “in Christ Jesus” there are “good works” that God has ordained for us to do.

Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.

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