Below is a very short excerpt from a long running conversation with an atheist discussing a Biblical Christian worldview from philosophy, evolution, naturalism, his belief that our Below is a very short excerpt from a long-running conversation with an atheist discussing a Biblical Christian worldview from philosophy, evolution, naturalism, his belief that our beliefs are transferred from DNA, quantum physics, and UFO’s. All this was interesting, but not worth repeating. However, this morning, we landed on the heart of the matter, grace vs. works as the basis for God’s love and acceptance of mankind. Below is my quick offering on that dichotomy, which is worth posting in my view.
What sparked my response was the comment from P… that “The way you treat the least amongst you determines your destiny regardless of any other consideration. Matt. 25:40”
P…, I respectfully disagree. Totally agree with Luke 10:27 and 1 Cor. 13, but there is more to the Bible and God than Matt. 25:40. Living on “the way you treat the least.. determines your destiny regardless of any other consideration” is a works-based, not grace-based theology . For example,
1. Why was Jesus able to say the following to the thief on the cross beside Him in Luke 23:43 that “today you will be with me in paradise”, if treating the least creates our destiny regardless of any other consideration?
2. What about Ephesians 2:8–9 “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.” Grace is how we are saved not works. That is not to say we don’t do “good deeds” or works, but we do them not to earn our way to Heaven; we do them because we love God and He calls us to do them (James 2:14–24)
3. Other verses that make the same point include:
- Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
- Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
- 2 Timothy 1:9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Salvation, a relationship with God, comes from grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8), accepting Him as Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9–10). Part of the evidence of repentance and sanctification is what you refer to as “The way you treat the least amongst you determines your destiny regardless of any other consideration. Matt. 25:40”
My hope in sharing this is to make the point that being a kind and loving Christian is an outcome, but not the basis, of our relationship with Jesus. As we love and serve Him, He calls us to do the same for our neighbors. As the Scripture verse below clarifies, the love of our neighbor FOLLOWS our love for God. It does not replace it.
- Luke 10:27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”