Complicating the Simple

September 20, 2012

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How do I go to heaven?

What is required to be saved?

Poll 10 Christians and you are likely to get 10 answers.

If someone Googles “How do I go to heaven?”, what will they find?

“Keeping the Commandments”
“Living a Holy Life”
“Bear fruit”
“Don’t be lukewarm”
“Voting for a certain political party” ( ok maybe not….maybe)

The Bible is full of commands and principles for how to live your life. Most of these things apply to people after they get saved.

Consider the things above and ask how much of those is needed. Perfection!

Never breaking a commandment?
How much fruit?
Do the best that you can and avoid the big stuff kind of holiness?

How much is enough? Hmmm, no wonder salvation seems complicated.

But it’s not.

What does the Bible say is necessary?

BELIEF.

To believe means to depend, to entrust, and to rely on. Trust God to do what you cannot do. Depend on the perfect life of Christ rather than your own futile efforts.

Wait a second…

What about doctrine?
What about holiness?
How do you know you are really serious about the commitment?

Jesus did not conduct an interview with the thief on the cross, who by the way, likely was a murderer if he was about to be crucified. Romans did not crucify thieves; only the worst of the worst got the cross.

Imagine this little exchange:

Thief: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
Jesus: “Sure, just explain the Trinity to me quickly, you need your doctrine to be correct.”
Thief: “Uhhh, can you give me a crash course?”
Jesus: ” Never mind, just get baptized, tithe, practice the spiritual gifts, bind the enemy, and most of all be nice!
Thief: “I’m kind of running out of time here, can we just focus on the essentials?
Jesus: “Ok, ok, just make sure you have the right view on the 2nd coming, bear fruit in your life, and never, ever be lukewarm.
Thief: “How much fruit? How little lukewarmness? This is so complicated!!

Of course that is not how it went.

Jesus, seeing the man’s trust and dependence in Him, said “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Doctrine, holiness, fruit, and godly lifestyle are all very important. They are our response to salvation.

Salvation is through Believing.

The message of grace is simple. God gives bad people good gifts.

I hope if someone does google “how to go to heaven”, they find a simple answer.

Jesus himself says:

Believe.
Trust.
Depend on me to do what you cannot.

Do that first, then we will talk about how to walk this new faith out and grow in a new relationship.

People are complicated.

The gospel is not.

This post is a part of my “Top Questions” series based on things which are asked in Grace Seminars I conduct. Other questions have included Do I Need To Repent?, What Happens on Judgment Day?, and Can I Do Whatever I Want?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God