If you have spent long in church circles, you have heard this question:
If I died when I was about to ________, would I make it to heaven?
Before I prayed the prayer.
Right before I confessed Jesus as Lord.
Right before I was baptized.
The essence of the question is really this: What is really essential? How much must I really do? What are the requirements?
I see two major problems with this mindset.
First, this is the DEFINITION of works. We are saved by grace, not works. Salvation is a gift. Many of these questions arise in the debate over whether baptism is a work or not, but as soon as we begin looking at ANY of our responses to grace as required activities, we are focused on works and not grace.
Therefore we make prayer a work.
We make confessing Jesus a work.
We make baptismal submission a work.
Second, this question displays a worldview problem. We are consumed with the bottom line. The smallest number, the least possible work with most reward idea.
We minimize God's grace on the cross to a checklist.
When did Jesus say he wanted us to complete the paperwork?
Didn't Jesus come to heal sick people inside and out? Didn't Jesus come to seek and save those wondering lost?
The moment of my salvation was about 2000 years ago, halfway across the world.
Everything, and I mean everything I do now is a response to this grace.
The books I immerse myself in reflect my response to grace.
My willing submission to Scriptural teaching reflect my response to grace.
My laughter, anger, dreams, fears, lusts, self-control, schedule, work, family, finances, worship, ideas, art, and hope all become recreated in response to grace.
Grace is big, let's stop treating it small