I have been seeing this meme around Facebook:
Christians have three false ideas that cause unbelievers to slander Jesus like this:
- Works have nothing to do with salvation.
- It is not about good and evil, but accepting Jesus.
- It is not about dos and don’ts, but accepting Jesus.
In the Bible context, Jesus is knocking on the door of the Laodicean church, which foolishly thinks they are doing just fine without him. What he promises if they let him in is a chance to sit on his throne with him in his everlasting kingdom (Rev 3:14-22).
The meme, though, is not completely wrong. The wrath of God is going to come on the sons of disobedience not because they won’t let Jesus in, but because they are sexually immoral, impure, and greedy (Eph. 5:5-7). So the correct answer to “Save me from what?” is “Save you from what God is going to do to you because you are evil. You don’t seem to have the power to free yourself from these things you’re doing that are harmful to society in general, to the people you know, and to yourself. I am offering to provide you the power, but if you want to just press on without me, you may find God is also mad at you for ignoring the Savior he sent to rescue from your slavery to doing what is evil.”
Salvation is all about works, brothers and sisters. Jesus wants to make us new creatures, created in himself to do good works (Eph. 2:10). He died so we could be redeemed from all unrighteousness and become zealous for good works (Tit. 2:14). It is true that in God’s great mercy, no works are required to become part of this amazing cleansing and transforming machine that is the grace of God, powered by the Spirit of God living in us, but once we are inside, the whole purpose is to transform us into doers of good works that will glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
This is why the New Testament is full of dos and don’ts. “Turn from evil, and do good,” Peter writes in his first epistle (3:11). If you’re not keeping commandments, John writes, you don’t know God (1 Jn. 2:3-4). Sinner, Jesus is knocking on your door because you are a goat, turning people away that he wants you to help. He is knocking on your door to make you a sheep, empowered by his Spirit to help those in need and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Pet. 1:3-4). He is knocking at your door because he doesn’t want you to find out on the last day, at the final judgment, that you are about to be destroyed because you chose evil over good.