Salvation – by faith or by the law?
Someone sent me a question that is very important and I thought to share my response with everyone.
HIS QUESTION WAS:
“Salvation: I want to learn from you how will the believers be saved,
they will saved through faith plus observing laws or just faith alone?”
MY RESPONSE FOLLOWS:
In a nut shell, we are not required to keep the law for salvation after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He was the fulfilment or completion of the law… hence he said ”it is finished”. Because he fulfilled the law we are not required to keep it for salvation and righteousness. We need only have faith in order to access God’s grace for our salvation. See these scriptures:
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: itis the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availed anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worked by love.
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
”AFRICAN” is Good Enough and ”AFRICAN” Can Be Best!
Stereotypes and generalisations are things that we must constantly watch ourselves for. I was on the Metro in Barcelona at night recently and remember feeling out of place being the only black person on the platform. I could see a few of the people there were watching me closely and perhaps cautiously.
The strange thing was that when another black person appeared on the platform, I too felt unsafe and caught myself thinking, ”I hope he doesn’t come near me”! I felt the same way about a fellow black person as those people I was thinking were ignorant and misguided! I felt ashamed.
Last week I posted a photo of an wooden multi-plug adaptor made by someone on the streets in Zambia and commented on how I loved the idea. Some people liked it but a good proportion were sceptical. As I pointed out, the product was not perfect and could probably use some improvements, such as giving it a fire-proof coating. I got to thinking ”would this have been better received had I said it was made in the United States”? I can’t help thinking that it would have been better received.
All in all, it’s food for thought. Are we as black people generally also to blame for our relative lack of progress when it comes to innovation and groundbreaking ideas and innovation? How receptive and supportive are we of one another?
I think we must guard ourselves and always watch out for such prejudices.
We must begin to think ”African” is good enough and ”African” can be best.
Unforgiving & Judgmental – The Christian Way?
I hate to say this, but it is my observation that we as Christians are some of the most unforgiving people around. I mean, you are more likely to get forgiveness from a so-called “worldly” person than from a Christian most times.
Or maybe forgiveness is the wrong word. Maybe it is that Christians are overly judgmental and quick to condemn people rather than empathise. Quick to cast the first stone rather than stretch out a helping hand.
When someone is in trouble, we are quick to say things like “backslidden” and make it the gossip of the day rather than go down on our knees and pray for them. We have our noses up in the air looking down on them from our pedestal.
Quick to condemn those getting wealthy as being corrupt, witches or Satanists but meanwhile tithing and offering first-fruit offering in the hope of getting a miracle rather than to show gratitude to God.
In trying to trace the roots of this attitude of being judgmental and unforgiving of people I have come to conclude that it is mainly due to one thing – the attitude of thinking we are “better than them”. That “they” are worldly and we are more spiritual. The attitude of feeling we are special and different.
It is in essence the attitude of self-righteousness. We feel we are better and we are in a special class of our own and therefore set apart. Well, scripturally that is true. But the problem is we feel we are entitled to this position, we feel that it is our own inherent goodness and piety that puts us in that position.
We forget the most important thing and that is that our righteousness is not our own but comes from Jesus Christ. He alone is righteous and we all fall short. It is by his grace that we are in such a privileged position. So why do we boast as though it is our own doing?
When someone is in trouble why do we behave like they have messed up beyond redemption? Why do we feel their “filthiness” is worse than ours was? It is the same or at least it was before we bowed to Christ and asked for forgiveness.
We are quick to judge without understanding what it is like to be in that person’s shoes. In fact, we are eager to see people fail and people regress in their Christian walk because somehow that makes us feel better about ourselves and adds to that sense of self-righteousness.
I have done it. I have learnt from it. I have experienced it too. I once stopped going to church and everyone thought I had backslidden, when in fact the truth was I was meditating so much on God’s word that certain things that went on in the church and certain preaching seemed contrary to God’s word to the point that I no longer felt comfortable being there.
I was looking for another church to worship at. My search did not go very well for quite a while as most places I went I would hear the now tired theme of prosperity, getting blessed, wealth and miracle money. But I digress…
What surprised me was no one from the church I had stopped going to ever came up to me or visited me to ask me what the problem was nor offer counsel. I could see a change in attitude in the few I would meet. Not even the pastor, a man I thought we as a family had grown close to, ever called or visited me to ask what the problem was.
No doubt the conclusion had been made -“he has backslidden”…and no doubt many were likely willing to put the nail on the coffin and close that case. But the attitude of shunning people is exactly what keeps some away from the very salvation they desperately need.
Such is the behaviour of many of us as Christians. Self-centred, judging and condemning. But God help us to see the light. We need not judge nor condemn people. We need not take things too personally when people are in such situations. After all, it is about them and their relationship with God. The best we can do is listen, counsel, empathise, pray. Then we let God do the rest.
In Christ alone is our salvation and we are all filthy rags had it not been for his sacrifice on the cross. Let us make him our example because it is folly to follow any man.
Finding Balance – Introverted Vs Extoverted Recharging
My idea of a restful weekend is being at home and not having to touch my car all weekend. I love to just enjoy the stress free feeling of having nowhere to go and nothing in particular to do. After a whole week of driving to and from work and attending to other business, driving is normally the last thing I want to do on a weekend.
I think your home should be your refuge and place to recuperate and find rest. I often find it strange when someone says I am bored at home because for me home is the ultimate place to be on a weekend. Nothing better to achieve this, for me, than spending some time in the kitchen cooking a nice meal whilst listening to some music.
I love big yards because they offer serenity. I can explore my own yard and find amazing plants and flowers, insects and birds. There is always something new to see if you are looking for it and are curious. Photography has helped me to appreciate my surroundings even more and to be curious.
Then a little choice and selective television to unwind and just explore. Nature shows and documentaries are my first choice, then perhaps a good movie. A science-fiction or thriller will do, thank you.
But I know that for some people that would be a very dull weekend full of drudgery and boredom. Some people’s idea of a good and restful weekend is driving around, hanging out with friends, having braais, socialising and all. Being home all weekend to them is like being imprisoned.
Nothing wrong with that, I have come to learn. People like me, who are naturally introverted, live internally. We find the greatest satisfaction from being able to get away from it all and just think and reflect. Solitude does not mean loneliness, but rather being alone. We recharge our batteries by finding peace and quiet.
Others, live externally. Social interaction is their form of recharging. When alone they feel lonely and not at peace. They crave excitement and novelty. They need constant interaction with people. Extroversion is like that.
This can be a real challenge in a relationship when one partner is like me, introverted, and the other is extroverted. Then it can be a real struggle to find balance. The extrovert might complain that their partner is boring and never wants to do anything. The introvert would say their partner is too demanding and always wanting to go out and have fun.
For the introvert, spending money on such activities they do not consider necessary nor fun can be an added stress. The extrovert may think their partner is stingy. But it is really just a matter of perspective.
What is important, is to understand one another’s personalities and work around that. Balance is key and both parties must be given the time to enjoy what they like. So sometimes a weekend home will do and another time some time out would be nice. Each has to compromise and do what is good for the other person.
It is amazing how long it took me to learn this. I used to think there was something wrong or weird about me. I remember as a teenager declining some family outings and preferring to be home alone to just relax. My parents no doubt were worried about my behaviour, which I find quite funny in retrospect.
But doing personality profiles like Myers Briggs has reassured me. Having an INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) personality profile has put things in perspective and helped me to understand my behaviour better.
In my book Destiny On Purpose I talk about how important is to know yourself better by doing this and other personality profiles. It is one step closer to understanding your purpose in life. And one step closer to better relationships once you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Follow Your Passion & Be Remembered – Coco 2017
Today, the girls and I went to the cinema to watch the animated movie “Coco”. It is a hilarious and sometimes tear-jerking tale about a young boy named Miguel pursuing his dream of being a musician.
His family is however not so keen on him following his passion for music and would rather he carried on the family tradition of making shoes. But he is stubborn and persists despite the resistance, which leads him to an unexpected adventure.
Through a series of events, which I will not go into for fear of being a spoiler, he ends up on the other side of life and meets his family members who are dead, in the land of the dead. The intriguing thing about the death side of things is that people continue living there, so long as there is someone on the other side who remembers them. Once they are no longer remembered by those alive they die a second time and disappear from the land of the dead to no one knows where.
I found these two aspects of the movie intriguing – pursuing your passion and being remembered after death. I am big on recognising and following your talents and gifts, as Miguel does. In my book “Destiny On Purpose – Unleash Your Greatness in Five Simple Steps” I talk about how to find these talents and gifts and how to nurture and develop them. I also talk about how they are often the key to finding your purpose in life and achieving your destiny.
Even in the land of the dead, Miguel faces stiff resistance to pursuing his dream of singing. Until he actually just starts to sing and people see his passion, talent and his happiness in doing it.
Life is like that. People will often say you cannot do this and you cannot do that. Until you just go ahead and do it despite their discouragement. Then once you start succeeding and shining at what you love, they usually warm up to it and support you or encourage you.
But the thing is if you let their initial discouragement stop you, you will not get anywhere. And unfortunately it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they say, “we told you so”. Sad, but c’est la vie.
The lesson here is – you know yourself best and should pursue that which you are happiest pursuing. But you must be strong and persevere against the odds and discouragement.
The second aspect, being remembered in death, I could equally relate to. In Destiny On Purpose I dedicate a whole chapter to “legacy” and understanding what you want to be remembered for when all is said and done.
It is very true that we live on in the people that remember us and the lives we touch. Our possessions, material things and money are not normally what makes for a lasting and rich legacy. What matters is who we are as people and what those we leave behind remember about us.
Yes, money is important and is one form of legacy that I speak about in the book, but there is a lot more to a life well-lived than money. People who only leave behind money and nothing else in terms of relationships they had and enriched are rarely remembered for long.
So as I tried to hold back tears now and then, as am sure the girls did, I appreciated this movie for the meaning it had for me personally, and for the time I spent with my lovely daughters…because that is what it is all about, relationships.