Monday, April 18, 2011

Jesus on works vs grace

People today are still very much like those in the New Testament times.  They want the blessings of God more than they want God.  We see in John 6:26-40, after Jesus feeds the 5,000, they begin to follow him wanting more food.  Feed us every day just like when Moses fed us as our ancestors wandered in the wilderness.
We see the same kind of faith or lack of, today in the prosperity gospel churches where people come to receive "blessings".  "Give and you shall receive", the preachers proclaim.  "See how God has blessed me!  You too can have a nice car, a beautiful house and riches untold if only you give to God (me) your money".
The prosperity gospel churches are not the only ones though that rely upon such tactics.  You see it also used in mainline churches, just not as much.  It's not the major doctrinal belief system that the church is built upon like the prosperity gospel churches. But in many mainline churches members are asked to give testimony to the fact that God has blessed them when they give to the church, building campaign, pastors discretionary fund, etc.  It is a manipulatory tactic to get people to give more.  Ironic that we use manipulation on our people by manipulating them to believe we can manipulate God into giving us material wealth, if we give to the church.
It was so in the new testament also.  People wanted to know just what they needed to do to gain the blessings of God, to get a free meal every day.  Jesus didn't say you need to give money to me.  He didn't say you need to pray five times a day.  He didn't say you need to sacrifice a lamb or go to the Temple on the Sabbath.  He said in verse 29, "believe in Me".  "God provided the bread from heaven, not Moses.  I am the bread.  I am the manna.  Put your faith and trust in me.  It is a relationship with you that I want.  Not works, or your money.  Just your time, your worship, your heart."
What would it look like if we understood that Jesus wants our devotion not works?.  How would I live my life differently if I could fully comprehend the depth of that relationship and the grace that Jesus offers?

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