What does it mean to be saved?

What does it mean to be saved? The late, great theologian of our times, Dr. R. C. Sproul answered this question in his last sermon on November 26, 2017 at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida. Here’s an excerpt from that sermon.

“What does it mean to be saved? It means, as the Scriptures tell us, to be rescued from the wrath that is to come.

God’s wrath as we’re told in Romans, is revealed to the whole world, and the Bible makes it abundantly clear that there awaits a judgment. The greatest calamity that anybody can ever imagine is to be sentenced to hell.

The author of Hebrews (Hebrews 2:1-4) raises the question, how do we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? We’ve heard the Word of God. It’s a message of good news, not just good news, great news; not just great news, the greatest of all possible news, that those who believe in Christ will be saved from the wrath which is to come. How can you possibly neglect it in the first place? That’s not the question the author is asking here. He says, how can you possibly escape? The question is, how can you possibly neglect such a great salvation?

Beloved, if you come to church every single Sunday of your life, and go to Sunday school every single week of your life, you may still be neglecting this great salvation. Is your heart in it? That’s what I’m asking you. And you know I can’t answer that question for you. You know if you’re neglecting your salvation. You know that. I don’t have to tell it to you. I just have to tell you what the consequences are if you continue in that neglect. So, I pray with all my heart that God will awaken each one of us today to the sweetness, the loveliness, the glory of the gospel declared by Christ.

Let’s pray. We thank You, O Jesus, that You are for us; You are the great escape. We’re thankful that because of You and what You’ve done for us we have nothing to fear from the wrath that is to come. But we pray, O God, that You would feed our souls, cause us to hunger and thirst after You as the deer pants after the mountain stream. Ignite a flame in our hearts that we may not neglect You but pursue You with everything we have. For we ask You in Your name. Amen. ”

Dr. Sproul has passed on to a greater glory, and I miss him, but he lives on in his teachings on video, his many books, and his legacy of Ligonier Ministries.

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True Submission

We find the concept of submission in every world religion. In fact, the true meaning of the word “Islam” is to submit to Allah. All religions demand submission to rules, and to God or gods, or even submission to the consensus of society or the scientific community. Of course, as inherently prideful human beings, we are natural rebels against authority and are inclined to oppose submitting to laws. So then, since this is the situation, why do humans support religions that require us to submit?

Sociologists, theologians, philosophers and psychologists conclude that we humans are inclined to follow religions that are centered on us (Christianity is the exception to that rule). This means that submission to law, God, gods, or the consensus of society must in some way be considered to benefit us. In atheistic religions like secular humanism, it goes without saying that this is the case because there is no God to submit to;  but it might surprise us to know that this is also the case in all other religions that claim a belief in God or gods as well.

I say this because all religions except Christianity are centered on man, and this means it’s understood that when man does for God or gods, God does for us (a “quid pro quo” arrangement). Followers of these religions believe they are to perform good works to please God and merit salvation. This is why they are called “works-based” religions. My point is that, whether it is submission to Allah’s law, or Jehovah’s law or to Hindu gods or (as in atheistic belief systems) submission to society’s needs, this is not true submission because it serves man’s prideful purpose; such submission is based on pure, defiant, selfish arrogance. It’s selfish because we expect something back for whatever we give. That’s our human perspective. From God’s perspective, we Christians know he doesn’t view this form of submission as submission to him; he is aware that our pride is the prime motivation, and to him, pride is one of the most grievous of sins.

How is Christianity so different from all these works-based religions? Works-based religions necessarily focus on what we can do for God; but, as sinners, we Christians know that we can’t possibly do everything a righteous, holy and perfect God requires of us our obedience to his law. This is why there is no salvation for us in the law.

Christianity is truly a God-centered religion because it tells us through the Gospel what God has done for us through his grace (unmerited favor). Through the person and purpose of Jesus Christ, our God has worked out our salvation for us, totally apart from us. And God calls us to submit to that salvation, to hand over all the work of fulfilling the law to Christ because only he can do it because he offers that perfect sacrifice in perfect obedience to the will of a perfect God. In trusting in Christ for our salvation, we forfeit our pride. In this way, there is no ego involved in us being saved. We can’t take any credit in us being forgiven and saved. We are given a righteousness that is not at all our own, except that Jesus gives it to us. By faith, we submit to, we stand by, and we sit back and receive God’s righteousness. Salvation comes through faith in the Gospel.

Prideful man of course is inclined to reject the Gospel. C. S. Lewis described the situation. “At first, Christianity is welcome to all who have no special reason for opposing it: at this stage he who is not against it is for it. What men notice is its difference from those aspects of the World which they already dislike. But, later on, as the real meaning of the Christian claim becomes apparent, its demand for total surrender, the sheer chasm between Nature and Supernature, men are increasingly offended. Dislike, terror, and finally hatred succeed: none who will not give it what it asks (and it asks all) can endure it: all who are not with it are against it.”

Lewis thus describes what true submission is. Christianity, unlike the other religions, “demands our total surrender.” Only in surrendering self to God, can the submission be true.

Designed Religion

I wrote a blog which I posted on this site last November 22, entitled “Religion By Design.” This post today expands on that topic, and this Easter Sunday, a day for believers to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for what he has done for us, offers us an opportunity to talk about what God has designed for those who believe in him.

Christianity, of course, is just one of hundreds of religions. There are two other monotheistic religions, Islam and Judaism, a number of pantheistic (God is in everything in his creation) religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, and even an atheistic religion called secular humanism.  All religions, according to Karen Armstrong, author of The History of God, are designed to meet man’s need to depend on a higher, most powerful supernatural being to allay our fear of the unknown and other fears we have as we live out our lives on this earth.

But Christians differ from all other religions in believing we have a need for a Savior to save us from our sin. Christians are unique in believing that we are sinners and have been that way since our birth. We believe that, just as Adam and Eve’s disobedience resulted in their separation from God, our sin separates us from our Creator and both he and we desire to be re-connected. We believe that Christ came to do that for us, to save us from ourselves, and, through his death and resurrection, we are re-connected to God. We celebrate Easter to remind us of what Christ has done for us. God has sent his Son to save us through an act of his grace, his unmerited favor. That’s our gospel message, and Easter is a time for us to reflect on how Christ’s death and resurrection accomplished that purpose.

All other religions are centered on what man can do for himself, to perform good works to earn his salvation; these religions downplay, or even completely ignore, God’s grace and what he has done for us to meet a need unbelieving sinners fail to recognize: our need to re-connect with a God whom we have instinctively rebelled against since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden in aspiring to be gods themselves. All of these other religions are designed to meet man’s prideful want to be God.

Easter represents to us Christians a reminder of our redemption through God’s grace, but it was also an actual historical event which even unbelievers acknowledge did happen. Jesus Christ actually existed in first century Judea, and he was crucified and buried and did leave his tomb and eye-witnesses (who swore their testimony was true to their death) subsequently claimed to see him and speak with him many times after he had been crucified and buried. Historical events establish credibility and would logically lead people to concede that the Easter account  doesn’t seem like a story anyone could or would invent; they recognize too that there just might be more to the history than just a series of miraculous events occurring; that there just might be some hidden significance in this historical account; and, of course, Christians know that there is.  Jesus Christ didn’t just die; he died for us. He didn’t just rise from the dead, his resurrection proved he conquered death, and that, as his followers, we will conquer death too.

How can we know though that Christianity is designed by God and not by man? At first glance, Christianity seems like all other religions designed to meet mankinds needs. People accept it because it explains what is wrong with this world and offers a moral model, Jesus Christ, for us to follow in order to lead a better life. But then when they dig deeper, they discover something else is there, and those who were not initially against Christianity now have second thoughts about accepting it.

So, what have unbelievers discovered about Christianity that turns them against it? In the chapter “The Decline of Religion” in God in the Dock, C. S. Lewis explains what happens when “the real meaning of the Christian claim becomes apparent, its demand for total surrender of self (italics mine), the sheer chasm between nature and supernature, men are increasingly ‘offended’. Dislike, terror, and finally hatred succeed; none who will not give it what it asks (and it asks all) can endure it; all who are not with it are against it.”

Does this sound like a religion man would design? Unbelievers turn against Christianity because they correctly assume it requires them to be centered on God and not on them. Sinful man would never be inclined to come up with a religion that completely centers on God and requires total abandonment to him. All other religions, in focusing on what man can do for God instead of what God has done for us, are, by definition, centered on man, not on God.

Why is it important for a religion to be God-centered and not centered on man? Isn’t it all about what each of us believes to be true? Yes, we are all inclined to see the truth, and each religion claims to have a patent on the truth. But, logically, there can be only one truth, and, since every monotheism believes God is truth, we can infer that the one true religion is the one that is totally centered on God and on what he has done to redeem us. The reality of that act of redemption is the miracle and message of Easter.

 

 

 

Why Liberal Hearts Bleed

Nigel Barber wrote an article for the Huffington Post several weeks ago entitled “Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don’t.” In my March 10th post on this website, I responded to that article by choosing to focus more on what I perceived Barber to be saying about how a liberal thinks than on what a compassionate heart he has. The title of that post was “What is Mud-Think?” In using this term, I was pointing out how that bleeding heart often affects how a liberal thinks.  A “bleeding heart” of course refers to a person’s inclination and ability to express empathy and be kind to others. Mr. Barber of course is proud of the label “bleeding hearts” because he would have us believe liberals are compassionate to others and conservatives are not.  This attack on conservatives should not be ignored, hence the reason for writing this post.

First of all, let me clear one important matter up. Speaking only for myself, when I use the term “bleeding hearts,” I don’t mean to suggest that bleeding hearts are not what we should all have and that compassion for others is a weakness; I am implying that these people who express compassion for those they believe are downtrodden in our society, seem to be playing to the audience in putting on a show of compassion. I say this because their compassion does not seem to be generally motivated by their conscience to care about others; it seems to be reserved only for the downtrodden, and, as such, is selective. In expressing their outrage against Trump and his entire administration and refusal to acknowledge any good that has been accomplished since his election, they infer anyone who is not on their side is either evil, stupid or both. Anyone who pays any attention to what liberals post on Facebook and read the memes they post like Barber’s article, can surely see the mockery, the ridicule and the reprimand in their arrogant tone of responding to what anyone posts which opposes what they believe. In short, liberals seem to show little empathy for the people they attack so aggressively. This is why I have accused them of selective compassion.

Second of all, another, most important point needs to be cleared up. We need to understand that all of us (including conservatives) have a God-given conscience to love others, and, to that extent, all of our hearts bleed to some extent. Liberals (the majority of whom claim not to believe in a personal God) of course apparently want to own the label of having bleeding hearts because their only religion is based on “when I do good, I feel good.”

It really all comes down to the person’s motive for doing good. In Dostoevsky’s The Brothers of Karamazov, the character Father Zosima responds to a lady who said she feared she was unable to “actively love” because her motives are often wrong. Father Zosima recalled what a doctor had confessed to him previously. “I love mankind, but I am amazed at myself: the more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular, that is, individually, as separate persons. In my dreams, I often went so far as to think passionately of serving mankind…Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone even for two days, this I know from experience. As soon as someone is there, close to me, his personality oppresses my self-esteem and restricts my freedom (italics mine)…The more I hate people individually, the more ardent becomes my love for humanity as a whole.” Father Zosima concludes by saying, “I am sorry that I cannot say anything more comforting, for active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching (italics mine). Indeed, it will go as far as the giving of one’s own life, provided it does not take too long but is soon over, as on stage and everyone is looking on and praising italics mine). Whereas active love is labor and perseverance.” Philosopher Eric Hoffer supported this point in concluding that excessive compassion is a gesture. It is done for effect.

I don’t mean to imply that all liberals are phonies; but it’s important for those who go out of their way to show us their bleeding hearts examine their motive for doing so. Do they want to prove, as Barber suggests, that they are more compassionate than conservatives?That ludicrous and blatant attempt to divide us isn’t a very compassionate act, is it?

We all need to question our motive for caring for others because there is a great difference between love in dreams and love in action, between the ideal of love as Barber attaches to liberals and the display of it to all, not just the downtrodden.

What is “Mud-Think?”

Many years ago when I first heard liberals described as “mud-thinkers,” I asked my father what that term meant. He was a TV news commentator, a radio station news director, and political pundit so I assumed he knew the answer. He told me he thought Paul Harvey (a peer he used to work with in Chicago) first came up with the term. He said it was used to describe the way many opinionated liberals seem to think. They are so focused on showcasing their hearts that bleed (“bleeding heart liberal”is another term used to describe them) that they put their hearts before their heads; that is, they allow their emotions to trump (no pun intended) their power to reason.

Columnist Nigel Barber in his article for the liberal-leaning Huffington Post entitled “Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don’t,” told us that the liberal worldview is mostly the opposite of the uncaring, unfeeling conservative world view. For evidence to support his conclusion, Barber goes on to list a number of liberal opinions which constitute the liberal world view and contrasts this list with his list of opinions of constituting the conservative world view. In this post, I’ll discuss only the liberal world view and my next post will address his opinion of the conservative world view.

Barber begins his list by saying that liberals feel that “the protection of citizens against crime is better left to police and that armed citizens are a threat to those around them.” Of course, some of us may recall what seemed to be a campaign of hate towards our police which was tacitly supported by the Obama administration. This inconsistency provides us with a hint of how ‘mud-think” works.

Next Barber says that “liberals are less religious than conservatives because they perceive the world around them as less threatening. This is an arrogant jibe at the “religious right” who are so obtuse they have to rely on some deity to allay their fears, while liberals rely more on “science, and education, as a means to solve problems.” Of course, a person’s beliefs and religion are very personal, and most well-mannered people understand this subject is taboo in public, but liberals are a determined bunch of zealots for their heart-felt cause and don’t recognize any subject as being off limits once they get on a tear to force their opinion on us through mocking and ridicule. In my discussions with them over the years, they don’t seem to be able to resist the opportunity to be critical of Christianity in particular. They do this even when they should know that religion isn’t even relevant to their point; this is an example of mud-think, the heart ruling the head.

Barber then goes on to say that “liberals are more welcoming to immigrants, and less likely to view foreigners, and racial or ethnic minorities as a threat” (this is undoubtedly why liberals are so quick to call conservatives racists.)  In their opposition to the wall and failure to come up with an alternative solution to a problem all other civilized nations have addressed, liberals favor open borders. This too is an example of mud-think.

Of course, it occurs to me that one of the reasons liberals may favor immigration, legal and illegal is that they assume there are more immigrants coming into this country who seem to be more concerned about what America can do for them than what they can do for America and will therefore vote for the Democrats who have historically “supported welfare programs for the poor because this may reduce child poverty, as well as reducing crime and social problems.” Mud-think rears its ugly head again when liberals fail to recognize they are harming those who are already in the wagon when they add more to it. Adding more people to the dole will have a negative effect on our economy and reduce the money available in the budget for those citizens already sitting in the wagon. After all, there’s only so much money to spread around. If we print money to pay the increased freight, we bring inflation back.

So then, how do they expect to pay for increasing expenses for social programs? Barber says liberals “are happy to pay their taxes if they believe that the money is being used to improve the quality of life of others whether they are poor.” We understand what Barber is really saying here when he includes on his list the fact that liberals do not believe in “excessive military buildups that drain social spending.” So he is really saying liberals believe the federal budget should prioritize the funding of social programs over funding of our military. Since most Americans at least concede that they at least expect their government to defend them against foreign power aggression, it’s mud-think to want to weaken our military.  Of course, there is waste in military spending, but there is waste in most of the budget categories, including our social programs. 

Of course, there’s always the prospect of increasing taxes. This is historically the policy of the old “tax and spend” Democrats; but this mud-think mindset is still alive and well in their party today as evidenced by Senator Bernie Sanders’ recent statements which translate into their campaign slogan for November: “Elect us so your taxes will be increased.” Mud-think rears its ugly head when these folks propose this right after we’ve had the biggest tax rate reduction since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Does that make sense? And, of course, the problem is that many people may still remember what President Obama said about the failure of the welfare programs no matter how much money we throw at them. Liberals ignore this reality and refuse to admit that this has not been money well spent. This too is mud-think.

It’s apparent that liberals just don’t seem to understand basic economics. They say they “rely more on education as a means to solve problems,” but that education doesn’t appear to have involved the study of economics. Economics 101 tells us wealth can only be derived from production. Someone has to pull the wagon for it to move ahead. The liberals’ focus on attaining financial equality (at the expense of liberty) and their attachment to socialism as an economic system inhibits productivity by taking away incentive for people pulling the wagon. Blatantly ignoring that socialism has never worked anywhere in the history of civilization, yet they nonetheless keep trying to implement some form of it in America.

Before we leave the subject of immigration, there’s one more consideration. Liberals seem to have forgotten they once represented their Democratic Party as the labor party. They pay no heed to how immigrants flooding into our country (those who are willing and qualified to work) will probably take some jobs from our citizens; at the very least, the reality that they are willing to work for less will keep wages down. It’s ironic that the party that once used to stand for the working man has subtly switched allegiances to the downtrodden over the years. Of course, enough of the working middle class has recognized this had happened, and that it was one of the major reasons Donald Trump is now president. Their mud-think clouded their recognition of the consequences of their change of heart and focus, and it cost them the election.

Barber seems to recognize the mud-think expressed in his statement “liberals are less interested in family ties” because he then adds “as a protective bubble” in a lame attempt to minimize the importance of the family by referring to the protection he claims conservatives need to deal with a “potentially hostile environment” and their desire to “take precautions and to ensure their own well-being and that of their family.” He glosses over the fact that sociologists have concluded that a breakdown in the family unit is at least partially to blame for some of the ills in our society today. It’s smart and right to focus on the importance of the family, and to believe otherwise is mud-think.

Barber summarizes his list by saying that “conservatives see the world as a more threatening place because their brains predispose them to being fearful….That would help to explain why politics can be so polarized, particularly in rather conservative era like the present.” He says that this “brain biology helps explain many of the quirky differences between Democrats and Republicans.”

I believe in this blog and several others dealing with this subject, I’ve logically made my case that it isn’t our “brain biology” (whatever he means by that term), it’s our theology that determines our world view. Many conservatives are either Christians or people who have been influenced by Christianity and (as I will present in my next post), Barber’s  description of the conservative world view does not represent “quirky differences;” indeed, they reflect an essential difference between the liberal and conservative world views and this is based on how we understand the nature and character of God and man’s relationship with him.

Christians are centered on God and look to him for solutions to our problems; that’s why we pray. Statistics show that most liberals are not Christians and in fact affiliate with an atheistic belief system called secular humanism. This belief system is centered on man, and that is why liberals are always looking to man for solutions to our problems. They understand of course that there is something very wrong with our world, but they don’t attribute this phenomenon with sin and don’t believe man is inherently sinful. Nonetheless, they must recognize what every one of us knows in our conscience; there isn’t very much we can do to change our situation to achieve nirvana on earth. No matter how hard we’ve tried over thousands of years, we humans just don’t have the power to force each other to love one another and bring peace into this world. Only God can do this, and he will in due time. The ultimate in mud-think is to believe man can be God; the position’s already taken, and we wouldn’t be any good at it anyway.

Circling the Bowl

When we recognize how our culture has changed over just the past quarter of a century, it’s obvious that the “times they are a-changin,” and it hasn’t been for the good. We have problems in this country that are crying out for a solution.  We are “circling the bowl.” But we must first recognize we actually have a problem. I think this most recent school shooting in Florida should motivate us to give some thought as to why this happens.

Liberals of course (pursuant to their objective of becoming America’s nanny) focus on gun control as the cause of the problem of mass homicide. They claim that America is at the top of the list globally in number of this type of incident occurring. Obama said, “Let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence (the Charleston, N.C. shootings) does not happen in other advanced countries.” Wrong. Dead wrong (pardon the pun).

In fact, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, statistics (death rate per million population from 2009-2015) show that America doesn’t even make the top ten list in mass shootings. We rank 12th. Such European nations as Macedonia, Switzerland, and Belgium top the list. Regardless, both liberal and conservative alike must know that gun control is only part of the discussion. While I personally don’t understand why anyone needs to own an AR-15, I do know that gun control isn’t the answer to prevention of this problem. From my experience, I know that even liberals agree with me. The ones who don’t suffer from liberal “mud-think” recognize this violence has exposed a very complicated problem in our society that can’t be solved by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. No, there’s a bigger picture here to take into consideration, and when we do take a hard look at it, we recognize this is a complicated problem with a variety of causes.

Mass violence isn’t the only sign there is something wrong in our society. There are other indications. Just look at what has happened over the past 25 years. Having a child out of wedlock (nearly 50 %) is no longer taboo; single parent families are becoming the new norm (every single one of the mass murderers was from a single parent family); gay marriage is now the law of the land; a national drug problem, which also includes opioid  addiction, is growing; homicidal violence in our inner cities (Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans in particular) continues unabated; parents and schools have seemingly given up on trying to instill values in our children. A general lack of respect for others is prevalent in our society as many of us in my generation can attest. Hollywood continues to produce violent movies, and video games have become so real from the “PacMan” days, they have become an even worse negative influence on impressionable minds. When we recognize how these signs point to times that are a changin’ for the worse, we shouldn’t be so surprised by the onset of these recent school shootings. We must recognize that something is very, very wrong in our culture today, and it just may have something to do with our changing values. As “Pogo” used to say:  “We have seen the enemy and it is us.”

Of course liberals, who like to think of themselves as “progressives,” have ignored the indications that we have actually regressed. Instead they have attempted to divert our attention away from recognizing the obvious damage done as our society pays more and more heed to the siren call of atheistic secular humanism and postmodernism, beliefs that are clearly connected with these morally regressive trends in our society. Surveys now indicate these belief systems have successfully pushed Christianity (and subsequently Christian values) aside and replaced our “outdated” Judeo-Christian moral code with relativism, the concept that our moral code should be flexible, not absolute. Ethics should be “derived from human need and interest as tested by experience (from the “Humanist Manifesto).” Liberals, of course, don’t concede that the signs of regression would seem to indicate this approach isn’t working.

I’m not smart or influential enough to come up with and implement a plan to reverse our regression as a society. I don’t think any human being can accomplish that objective.  Only God has that kind of power, and only God can reverse the path of regression the “progressives” want to guide us down. Liberals who are unbelievers of course scoff at the power of prayer, but, at least they are forced to logically conclude there is something basically wrong with human nature, and that these problems in our society are but symptoms of a fundamental cause they suspect just may have something to do with a decline in our morality. But, as one of their gurus, existentialist Albert Camus, once said when asked why he was an unbeliever: “I don’t aim so high.”

So then, I personally don’t believe that anything short of a nationwide religious revival will reverse the trend towards atheistic secularism, and, as Christians, we should pray for that to happen; but, until God wills for that to happen, our nation must prioritize the recognition and treatment of mental illness in our society, and citizens should understand they need to pull their heads out of their cell phones and become more involved in reporting people’s threatening behavior to the proper authorities; and our authorities must do their job effectively. To use Obama’s phrase, that’s what we really have to “reckon with.” And I think we can assume that even unbelievers can at least aim that high.

The first step is focusing long and hard on what the problem actually is, and I think we have begun to do that now. Once we have spent the necessary time to do that, we must all work together to formulate a policy that will successfully solve the problem. As Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Cheap Grace”

Unbelievers and Roman Catholics typically point out that the reformed Christian belief that we are saved, not by our good deeds, but solely through the free grace of God simply motivates believers to sin because we assume we are forgiven for whatever sin we commit. They say that people need rules. “If you just preach this ‘free grace,’ people will just use it as a license to sin.” This opinion is sometimes referred to as “cheap grace.”

Roman Catholics believe that our salvation is attained through the performance of good deeds plus God’s grace. Christians of the Reformation believe in a different mathematical formula. Instead of believing that Salvation = Grace plus Works, we know that the Bible tells us that our salvation is only through God’s grace and our good deeds are the result of our salvation, not the cause. Our formula then looks like this: Salvation (by Grace) = Works. This means we have been liberated by God through His grace from our selfish mind-set to perform good works; we are motivated to love others, care for them, and build them up because we want to imitate Christ, our Savior who died in our place. Through His word, the Holy Bible, God has given us the correct understanding of the connection between our good deeds and His grace.

As in most matters of understanding our doctrine, St. Paul says it best in Romans 6:1-4: “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Our grace is not cheap. Jesus paid the ultimate price to enable our Creator to extend His grace to us to effect our salvation.