Sunday, October 2, 2016
En Passant excerpt
To put all of those religious ideas in a broad category, they pretty much come down to the idea that we must work, make an effort, to attain something like salvation or betterment. One must “do” things in order to be worthy of earning salvation. The emphasis is on one's works, making oneself righteous, making oneself worthy, becoming holy by one's own efforts.
So far as I know, only one religion stands contra to this. Only in Christianity do we have that idea that, not only is man broken, but man cannot fix himself. It is not enough to try to obey the law, because almost before one has made the decision to try to obey all the points of the law, one has already violated the law countless times, and even after making that commitment, one will still violate the law. Even if one does not know the law God gave to Moses, one would still have actions that one would consider good and evil, and would have already violated those standards many times.
If, as a child, you lied or stole, you violated the law. If you disobeyed your parents, you violated the law. If you were selfish and greedy for something another child had, you violated the law. What works would be enough to make up for such violations? Where has God given a formula that says what things you must do to blot out those sins from your record? Even if you sacrifice a vast herd of cattle and flock of sheep, can doing that make you clean?
This must be understood--all works we consider righteous are nothing more than the vilest of rags. Our best efforts literally stink to high Heaven. We are all guilty, and we cannot make ourselves innocent, we cannot make ourselves clean But where we cannot help ourselves, God has already helped us. God has sent His Son, Christ has sacrificed Himself for our sins. Through repentance and faith in Christ, we can find forgiveness of sins. Salvation is an act of grace from God, not a wage we can earn from Him.
It is that simple, we do not have to perform great acts of contrition and penance. And it is that difficult, for we cannot come to God claiming anything through our own efforts. God owes us nothing except punishment for violating His law. His salvation is a gift.
And it is for this reason that the modern move towards extreme ecumenism becomes not just intellectually unfeasible, but morally evil. There can be no compromise with religions that teach that one may be saved by works, when that is a lie that will only give a person false hope. There can be no compromise with those who say one must be enlightened to find salvation, or must better oneself to become worthy, for there is no enlightenment or insight that can cleanse one sin, and no bettering of oneself that can pay for even the smallest of sins any one of us has committed. In the early days of the church, there was no compromise with those who worshiped the gods of the Greek or Roman pantheon, or even with those who claimed to worship God while denying Christ. The church was not commissioned to play nice with other religions, to give any approval to the notion that people who bowed to other gods were doing right.