Ever heard people say they really do not know how to get around all the different perspectives or denominations of Christianity; that they do not know how to get their heads around it all and that at times they are just confused and leave it as “Everyone has their own interpretation of the Bible?” Well, that is first and foremost a wrong conclusion as the Bible says “No scripture is for private interpretation,” and second I think all the perspectives and whatever it is that people think is difficult to understand ultimately falls into one of only 2 spectra; that is either grace or works. Seriously, that simple.
Either one will completely trust and rest in the complete work of Jesus or will trust in themselves, their efforts and ability to meet whatever standard it is they deem necessary to deserve God’s blessing and favour and fortune. And it is of the latter that I believe a vast majority of differences stem a significant part of “Christendom” will not agree on what is that means one becomes acceptable. For some it maybe an insistence on following the 10 commandments to the letter, for some it may be rules, routines, a way of dressing at all times, or even praying certain number of hours a day or something like. It is from the latter that you get the notion that salvation is a matter of us doing our best and Jesus simply being what makes up the difference. If the latter part sounds right, then I am afraid you believe a lie my friend. You see, any part of your own effort that you believe accounts for you must be rewarded not as grace but as a debt.
The Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags (the word used implies a menstrual cloth used at the time) which most of us I am sure we all have an idea of. Now who amongst us would combine a filthy menstrual cloth with say the finest silk and cotton blend to make a suit or an item of clothing they could be proud of? I think any sane person would admit that you cannot and you simply have to discard the rags and use the blend on its own. And it is the same that must be when we approach God or desire righteousness. We need to ditch all attempts to add our efforts to the equation and realise that it is faith in Jesus that makes us righteous and blameless before God. It is faith in Him alone that makes us a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a chosen people. It is the grace of God, because He desires it that brings healing, financial blessing, peace, freedom from sin, and prosperity and so much more. These are not things we could ever earn or deserve but He gives us freely because of grace and grace alone.
Our part, our only requirement is that we believe. That we take him at his word and believe. That is all that faith really is; to believe in God and what He says and my friend trust me, when you believe you will act if the word says act, or if you get a word to say act; if you believe you will pray but not as a chore or an obligation; you will pray and be glad whilst you do it. I am sure you get the gist of what I am trying to say. This idea that we can somehow earn or deserve salvation is a lie and it will get you nowhere.
There is such a thing as rewards, but that is talk for another day.