Apologetics · Catholic · Christianity · Philosophy · Religion

Simple Minded Theology – Salvation

When I was in the United States Marine Corps, we had this saying, “Keep it simple stupid,” and we taught in “Barney Style.” In other words, the simplest approach was usually the best. Keep the complicated uselessness out, and just get ot the core, essential part of what going on, and above all, once you begin something, don’t do anything to further complicate it! Unfortunately, the more time and people you add to a process, the more likely that keeping is simple is going to go the way of keep it complicated. The history of Christianity can be seen in this light. So, at least for the five minutes it will take you to read this little post, instead of complicating things with the Primacy of Rome and Sola Scriptura (BTW, Jesus never saw Rome, NOR did He speak Latin 🙂 ), lets look at some basics.

John 3:16-17

16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 

These two verses tell us how we can come to have eternal life. First, God the Father, loved the world so much that he gave his Son, Jesus, so that those who believe in him may have eternal life. Secondly, Christ was not sent to condemn the world, but sent that the world might be saved through him. The Apostle John continues that those who do not believe in the Son do not need to be condemned by Christ (or us) because they have already condemned themselves. They condemn themselves through evil works:

John 3:20-21

20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

Here, Christ continues be saying that those who do what is true come to the light, and by doing what is true, others will see the truth. So what is the things that are true? When asked, Matthew records Christ’s words:

Matthew 22:37-40

37 He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

The work of truth is “simple,” Love God with all you soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. The problem comes when we don’t follow the two great commandments

James says that “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:14-26) – in fact James contends that faith alone will not save. Likewise, Jesus in Mathew 25 (31-46) describes that whose who helped those in need – in other words loved others – did so to him, and those who did not, well, in simple English, turned away Christ. It is evident in this parable that all who came before the Father believed in him and Christ, those who Jesus rejects question when they did not feed him and cloth him, but because they do not show the acts of truth, they do not have salvation. Both James, and more importantly Jesus, are saying that, if you do not act in response to your believe, you do not truly believe, for true belief, or faith that is alive shows it.

Jesus’ parables are full of illustrations showing that people who are true believes act on the faith, from the ten virgins to the Good Samaritan. It is not is not simply to “confess the name of Jesus,” we must act on that confession. Not only did Jesus say we must believe and that we must show our belief, but he told us what to do. Love God and love our neighbor. God is the obvious object in this equation. We are to love Him with all of our being and in everything we do. To do this may seem daunting, but the answer is in the next part, loving your neighbor as yourselves. Christ also said it in a different way, Love others as I have loved you (John 13:34) and that he loves us as the Father loves us, and that we should abide in His love (John 15:9). To abide in love is to be full of love. Jesus was not sent to the world to condemn it, and Jesus, likewise, did not send his apostles out to condemn the world either. He sent the apostles out, who in turn sent us out to love the world, even unto death. This love passes all understanding (Ephesians 3:19), and cannot be explained and only personified in the sacrifice of Christ.

In conclusion, we must believe, and to believe we must show it. We show our belief through love, and it is through following these commandments that we actually believe. If we do not love, we simply do not believe, even if we confess and do all the right things, without love, their is no belief and no salvation. We will be known by our fruit (Matthew 7:16), if our fruit is love, then it is light, if it is not, then it is evil.

Pax Christe,
JZ Holloway

All scripture quoted taken form the
>New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE) at BibleGateway.com

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