One of the first indications that a baby is turning into a toddler is the inevitable desire to “do it him- or herself,” without help. And this independence is a good thing as we mature. However, as we grow older many of us take this “do-it-yourself independence” a bit too far and end up in some sticky situations, and with a far greater problem than when we started. And what happens? We have to call in an expert.
In the same way, many of us have this same desire for independence and DIY when it comes to our salvation. We want to be able to earn it ourselves and for the same reason: it doesn’t cost us as much, and it feeds our pride and control. This is one of the appeals of many of the world religions and the rejection of Christianity. Every religion, except Christianity, requires that a person do something to be saved and reach heaven. In very simple terms here are a few of the beliefs.
Buddhism teaches that a person must follow an Eightfold Path and live “in the right manner and with the right intentions.”
Confucianism is similar in that one concentrates on “appropriate behavior.”
Hinduism: Believes one has to be freed from the “cycle of reincarnation” and that can only be achieved by ridding oneself of bad karma. A person can do this by either selflessly serving a particular god, understanding the nature of the universe, or having the actions to appease the gods.
Islam: Fully obeying Allah sufficiently and having more good deeds than bad deeds.
Judaism: Jews believe that they can lose their salvation through sin but can regain it through “repentance, good deeds, and a life of devotion.”
(Check out all the other religions and you will find the same thing.)
Only Christianity requires nothing of the individual except to accept that Jesus is God, to believe he died on the cross for one’s sins and was raised from the dead, and to turn one’s life over to Him. No works will achieve this. Ephesians 2:8-9 spells it out very clearly: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (English Standard Version).
This approach is nothing new with God. He has always worked in a way where a person could not take the credit: Gideon’s army being reduced to 300 men armed with torches and clay jars, the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea, the feeding of the 5,000. In more modern times, Brother Andrew’s multiple crossings through iron curtain countries with illegal bibles, and scores of other personal stories about God’s ability to supply financial and material needs in the most unexpected manner.
Yes, we all want to be able to do everything ourselves. We want to be an active participant and feel like we have some control and part in our achievements. But when it comes to salvation, the only SURE way is to know that there is nothing we have to do.
(gotQuestions?org: Got Questions Ministries. 2016, Web. 14 Nov. 2016.)