Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Sunday, August 01, 2004

On good works

One of the most mis-understood concepts about Christianity and it's various permutations and connotations is the idea of "Good Works". You see, "Good Works" is mis-used as a means of salvation. Christians are supposed to do "Good Works", but that is not the source of their salvation. "Good Works" are very central to Christianity, but they are not what separates the Saved from the Damned.

It is all a matter of timing and motivation. If one does "Good Works" to be saved, then one has missed the point. If they do "Good Works" because it shows people how good of a Christian they are, then the "Good Works" are wasted.

Paul told us that salvation comes from FAITH ALONE, not through "Good Works", "lest men boast". But, Paul also admonished the Faithful to DO "Good Works", because that's what being a Christian meant. What is the difference?

God knows our motivations. He knows our hearts. He knows our dreams, and desires. And He rewards, or punishes, us, based on those desires. If we do "Good Works" simply to gain favor in the sights of Humans, then we lose the benefits of those works, because we did those works for personal gain. If we do "Good Works" as a method of gaining the ability to say "Well, I'm a good person. Look at what I do!", then we lose the benefits, because we are doing them for personal gain. BUT, if we do the "Good Works", simply because they are good, or because God wants us to, (same thing), then we reap ALL of the rewards of those "Good Works". Because the motivation behind the "Good Works" was for something greater than ourselves.

In addition, Paul's remark about "lest men boast" is rather revealing. It also shows us that BOASTING, or trying to claim credit, for "Good Works" is also wrong. If we do a "Good Work" and then tell everyone and their brother, we lose much, if not all, of the benefits, because doing the "Good Work" is reward enough for this world, and the next world will have even more rewards for the act. Trying to gain recognition for the act shows a desire to reap the lesser rewards now. It's not unlike winning the lottery. Do you want the lesser amount now, to enjoy for as long as it lasts, or do you want the greater amount later, to enjoy for as long as the gift is received?

The timing of the "Good Works" is important also. Christians do "Good Works", because they are Christians. Doing "Good Works" does not make one a Christian, though. When one reads the words of Paul, one realizes that Christians do "Good Works" because Jesus, and God, want us to. Not because we want to be Christians. Become the Christian first, and THEN do the Will of God. Don't do the Will of God, and then claim to be a Christian.

If "Good Works" were all it took to be a Christian, then Buddhists and Muslims and Shinten and Zoroastraians would all be Christians, by extension. Because ALL religions have a "Good Works" clause in their tenets. I have heard Buddhists and Pagans claim that they weren't going to Hell because they did good things. If they believed that, why didn't they just claim that they were Christians, rather than deny Jesus, and then claim their slice of Heaven? One cannot deny the rules of an organisation, and then claim that they are covered under those rules. Try that sometime in a foreign country. To all of you in conceal/carry states, try carrying a concealed firearm in England, and then claim that you have the right to, because your home state allows you to. It's no different than God's rules for admission to Heaven. Faith in Jesus the Christ is your ticket into Heaven, and the "Good Works" are the price. "Good Works" aren't the ticket, and Faith is not the price.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country