I want to live a life that matters, but more importantly, I want it to matter to the Lord. When He ascended into Heaven, His physical body left the earth. He said as He left, He would send the Comforter and He would live inside of us teaching us and guiding us. In short, Jesus was saying, "I've got to go now because in my physical body I can't completely be everywhere at one time. But if I go and send the Holy Spirit to you, then you can go and be my representatives to the whole world." Basically, it's as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, we have become the body of Christ. Much of my quandry has come from evaluating what the body of Christ is doing today.
I think of it this way. How much anguish would it cause you to know that someone else took over your body, lived in it for a day, caused all kinds of chaos, did things you wouldn't do, and didn't do things you would? When getting "your body" back the next day, how many repairs would be needed? How many apologies would need to be given? And how would you feel towards the one who took over your body that represented you in such a way?
The scenario is strictly fictional obviously but in a sense is that not what we are doing as the body of Christ in place of the real body of Jesus Christ Himself on the earth? Are the things we worry about on a day to day basis as the body of Christ the things Jesus would have been concerned with? Is the current body of Christ too much in the world while the actual life of Christ was altogether separate so He may call the world out of the world?
Do we truly understand salvation? Do we understand Jesus did not save us to heal us . . . that He didn't save us to make us wealthy or even comfortable by cultural standards? Do we understand that the main purpose of our salvation is two-fold, that is, to be reconciled unto Him and then to represent Him by doing good works and spreading the Gospel?
I've come to the conclusion that it is certainly as Paul said in Ephesians, "not by works that we are saved," but that it is certainly by works that we remain saved. James says our faith without works is dead. Jesus said in John 15 that if the branches which abide in Him are not producing fruit, they will be cut off and burned in a place of eternal fire. Works do not save anyone. And works really doesn't keep you saved. Instead, works are an outwards sign that we are saved.
Think about it for a minute . . . Jesus said in Matthew 25 that "on that day" (Judgment Day) "many will say . . ." He didn't say they might would say something. Jesus fully knows that on the day we stand before Him, there will be many who will boast their gifts, their contributions to churches and Christianity in general, and those they taught right from wrong. Jesus also knows what He will say, "Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you." This is not a possible scenario. It will play out, which is to say, going to church, preaching, teaching, prophesying, even casting out demons, won't guarantee you and I a place in Heaven.
Let's look further. Jesus goes on to say that He will separate the sheep (Christians) from the goats (sinners) by means of, none other but their works. Jesus goes on to say that the sheep will be those who fed Him, visited Him, clothed Him, and helped Him for doing so to others is doing so to Him. The sinners will be those who did not do these things. They will be those who lived a selfish life always concerned about their needs, or shall I say wants. In two scriptures, Jesus seems to say conflicting messages. Are works important or not? Are we saved by our works? What works validate true salvation? It would seem as if Jesus is more impressed with the lay person that visits the jails than He is the ultra saint who casts out devils. Yet it is the exorcist that gets all the fame on earth. No wonder the Bible says that God will use the foolish to confound the wise.
What am I saying? I'm saying our greatest sin today seems to be selfishness. We're so much a part of the world that we can't see the truth, or even worse, we have began to call the truth a lie. If you stood before Christ today at His throne, based strictly on the idea of having lived outside yourself by giving to others, sacrificting in obedience, and witnessing on a regulary basis, would you be in the sheep herd or the goat herd. I know we want to immediately claim safety, but let yourself think for a moment. All of your church attendance aside, all your giving your tithes aside, all your grand accomplishments in ministry or life in general aside, have you majored on the minor and minored on the major things of God?
Jesus gave three commandments and with two of them He stated that every law, moral, ceremonial, and sacrifical, hangs on the hook of these commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, an strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The last commandment was the Great Commission. And while the Old Testament commandments were kept mostly by not doing them, Jesus commandments are kept by doing them. He said, "All men will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another." He went on to say, "If you love me, keep my commands." In Luke 6, Jesus asks the rhetorical question, "Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say?"
Are we missing something here? Isn't it time that we deconstruct our idea of what a church is supposed to be, i.e. a place to sing, hear a sermon, shout, operate in the gifts, shake hands, come occasionally after the ritualistic Sunday morning attendance, and solidify your Christianity, and embrace the idea that the church is to be the body of Christ. The body of Christ should be doing the works of Christ. "Signs and wonders will follow those that believe." Isn't it time we quit focusing on our needs and focus on others' needs? Isn't it time we quit focusing on what we don't have and start thanking God for what we do have and then start using it to bless others? "Seek first the kingdom of God, then all of these things will be added unto you."
I'm on a journey to deconstruct the norm. I hope you'll come along, but if you won't, it's your choice. Eternity is too long for me to hope God will look past my disobedience to His Son's commands. Eternity is too long for me to hope God understands my plight (that I got my own self in). Eternity is too long for me to think believing without faith is good enough to enter the holy inhabitation of a perfect God.