Hang with me for a few minutes. I'm trying to figure something out in my head.
I read several books at a time about theology and scriptures and applying them to your life, etc. Just the other day I started reading an ebook by Sarah Mae called Frumps to Pumps. It's basically a book about getting up and getting dressed in the morning like you matter, taking time to acknowledge your value and that you need to make an effort.
So at the beginning of the first chapter this is what she says;
"Here’s what I know for sure: I know that if you follow Jesus, then you are perfect, right now, for eternity.
Wild, right? Can you even fathom that? Perfect? That’s what Jesus did for you, and it’s a crazy mystery, especially seeing as we still sin. But yes, according to Hebrews 10:14, if you are being sanctified (meaning you know and follow God), you have been perfected for eternity.
This means that you don’t have to get there. You are there (in Heaven’s eyes)."
I read and hear similar ideas from other Christian writers and speakers all the time, that you "don't have to get there" because Jesus' sacrifice fixed that for you. Basically all you have to do is live. But that bothers me. It implies that you don't have to do anything, you can just coast through life with a guarantee that you're going to heaven.
But scripture clearly says that you must run the race. Running a race means hard work, exercise, sacrifice, effort. No one is going to pop in and carry you to the finish line.
No where in scripture does it say that all you have to do is claim Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and then you are done. Many Protestants believe that salvation is a one-time act that offers absolute salvation, but I have a really hard time with that. Yes, Jesus died once for all.
However, Rom 5:1-2 says
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand and rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
It says hope, not "assurance". We have hope. That implies there is something required of you, an action. That also implies that if you neglect something then all the hoping in the world won't get you anywhere. I can hope and hope and hope to win the lottery, but if I don't buy a ticket on a continuous basis I'm most definitely not going to win. In Jas 2:14 is says,
What does it profit , my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?
That's pretty cut and dry! So obviously if you say you have faith then you are going to do something about it! Feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, etc.
And then again in Jas 2:18, 26 it says,
"Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith...For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead."
Jesus also clearly told us that if we do not bear good fruit that tree will be "cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."
And then Matthew 7:19 says,
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven...
There is a theme here. He never said "just say you believe in me and you are saved". He keeps giving us instructions that even after we believe in him to do something (see last passage!). And THEN, in Phil 2:12 it says,
Therefor, 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.
Wait. What? Work it out? With fear and trembling? Fear and trembling implies I better seriously do some work to get to where I have hope that I am going?
So....maybe I'm not as perfect as Sarah Mae says after all. It sounds like I have work ahead of me.