Is the Christian faith a walk in the park?

13 June 2014 by Lim Poh Ann-

 

Some compare the Christian life to a walk in the park. They say everything is by faith. You just have to believe in what Jesus has done for you at the cross. Anything more than that smacks of self-effort, pride and legalism. Is it true?
 
 
 
 
Confusion and muddled thinking result when we lump together two different processes. Justification which is through faith and faith alone. And sanctification which is a life-long process whereby we die to self, submit to God, renew our minds and work out our faith.
 
No right thinking believer disputes the fact that we are saved by faith. What is crucial is that which follows. What’s next? Genuine faith has to be evidenced by works: "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26). Paul echoes this need for personal responsibility—to work out our faith with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
 
A world of difference exists between ‘work for’ and ‘work out’. Author J. Oswald Sanders draws an analogy between salvation and an estate. We do not have to feverishly work for an estate. We have already been given an estate. But we have to work it out—develop the estate’s hidden resources.
 
 
 
If we believe that we do not have to work out our faith, then we will have to cut off the following verses from our Bible:
  • Work out your faith with fear and trembling: Philippians 2:12-13
  • Keep striving: Philippians 3:12-14
  • Run the race with discipline so we won’t be disqualified: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  • Holiness requires effort; confirm your election: 2 Peter 1: 5-8, 10
  • Bear fruits that befit repentance and don’t rest on your spiritual laurels: Luke 3:8
  • Narrow and hard is the way to life: Matthew 7: 13-14
 
In view of the above references, the Christian experience is definitely not a walk in the park. The teachers and preachers who like to sugar coat their messages make it sound so easy.
 
Be open-minded. Read the Bible for yourself and don't swallow their teaching hook, line and sinker.
                                         
It never was easy even for apostles Paul or Peter, the main protagonists in the New Testament. What makes you think the Christian life we're supposed to live out is a walk in the park?

 

 

You have to decide for yourselves which path you would take—the broad and easy way or that which is narrow and hard. Do not allow your eternal fate to be swayed by sugar-coated messages that are contrary to what the Bible says.

 

Ref : causeineedit
Ref : causeineedit

 

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved,what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18).

 
References:
 
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).
 
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  Ipress on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).
 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
 
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1: 5-8).
 
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall (2 Peter 1: 10).
 
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham (Luke 3:8).

 

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7: 13-14).

 

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Note: Dr Lim Poh Ann is a medical practitioner. He was the former editor of Asian Beacon magazine (December 2008 – October 2011). He can be reached at his blog, Porridge for the Soul: http://limpohann.blogspot.com/

 

Article Source: http://limpohann.blogspot.com/2014/03/picnic-in-park.html

 
 

 

 

 

 
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