But how many of us operate that way? It’s the modus operandi: salvation by association. Redemption through osmosis. But it’s a myth. It’s a lie. It’s a false sense of security.
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We think that by belonging to a group or a particular church we’ll sneak our names in the book of life. It doesn’t work like that. (And that’s a good thing.)
Never Trust a Building
The Old Testament often seems far removed from our lives. Relating to the ornate letters on gold-lined pages can be tough. But usually the principles apply directly to our lives. Consider Jeremiah 7. The Babylonians were coming to sack Judah, but despite Judah’s wicked deeds, they thought they’d be safe. They had the temple of the God. The very building where He resided. The temple was their protection, their fortress, their salvation. As the prophet advised, “Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!'" (v. 4).
Just like we do today, the people of God trusted in a building for their salvation rather than in God almighty. It’s why they didn’t feel the need to change their detestable behavior. They thought the mere presence of the temple would shield them from the coming destruction.
In the same way we feel good about attending church, about raising our hands while singing. And don’t read me wrong: going to church is a good thing. But if you’re listening to the lie: “The white church on the corner, the white church on the corner, the white church!” then you’re in trouble. Babylon’s coming for you.
The Insanely Easy Way to Go to Heaven
Every religion that I know of (please let me know if I’m wrong) relies on “good” deeds for salvation (if indeed it affirms the need for salvation in the first place). It’s some variant of this: if my good deeds outweigh the bad, then I’ll enter salvation. I’ll work the karma system, steadily increasing my good deed bank account until I achieve nirvana. Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism. All religions require you to earn salvation. All, that is, but Christianity.
How then, does a Christ follower enter eternal life? It’s quite simple and insanely easy: by faith. By admitting you need forgiveness and then asking for it. By placing your trust in Jesus. That’s it. You don’t have to earn heaven. If you did, we’d all be in trouble. No one could make it. Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). No matter how good we are, we fall short of His glory. It’s only by the grace of God that we can be saved.
Belonging to a community of believers is a beautiful thing. A wise and godly thing. But St. Peter doesn’t accept church membership cards at the pearly gates. Only God’s grace, through faith in Christ will grant you admission to eternity.
If this article resonated with you, you might also enjoy one I wrote called, “Your Mom Can’t Save You”. Click here and I’ll send it to you right away.