Contradictions, Part 3: A Dark Place

Ready for some more Contradictions, readers?
More contradiction? Oh, Baldy. We’ve had enough of this.
No you haven’t.
Yes we have.
No you haven’t. And please stop arguing.
This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction.
Well argued, readers.

So, where were we again? Oh yeah. Matthew 7:21-23.

The first sentence in the passage says it’s critical that we not only call Jesus ‘Lord’, but that we also do God’s will. So is this a comment on by Jesus on the salvation-by-grace vs. salvation-by-works argument that He knows His followers will eventually have with each other (and themselves)?

Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, thinks it is – but the conclusion he comes to in his 2003 sermon Who Enters the Kingdom? is a bit surprising.

“Probably many of those who will say, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in Your name’ are people who thought their works would get them into the kingdom,” Curtis says. “Notice that Jesus does not question whether they actually did such deeds. Yet He rebukes them for not doing the Father’s will, and He denies them kingdom entrance. Notice that there is nothing here about “Have we not trusted in Your Name?” Their claim is to their works!”

He takes issue with the notion that obedience is a necessary component of salvation, noting that Jesus – the only human capable of 100% obedience – came precisely to save us from the fact we’re not capable of full-fledged obedience. Therefore, he asks, what percentage of obedience is required for salvation? How good is good enough?,,20644014_185583,00.html,,20644014_185583,00.html

‘Hmm. To a dark place this line of thought will carry us.’ – Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Agreed, Master Yoda.

So before we drift too far off track, let’s get back to the text. What does it say again? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

So what does doing God’s will look like, according to Pastor Curtis? After a long and fascinating stroll through a formidable amount of scripture, he points to an exchange between Jesus and the hungry crowd soon after the Feeding of the Five Thousand, in John 6:28-29:

“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Expressed in arithmetic terms, Curtis’s position seems to be:

Salvation = Faith + Works.
But …
Works = Faith.

An interesting perspective, and one I hadn’t thought of before. Fairly comforting, too.

Except for the fact it doesn’t say anything about how people can work miracles in God’s name if they’re not in His will.

Hmm. Seems we’re not done yet.

Peace be with you.


About robpetkau

Communications professional by day, amateur musician by night, worship leader (at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Calgary) on weekends and aspiring Bible teacher in my dreams. Grateful husband to the woman who completes me. Doing-the-best-I-can dad to the son and daughter who keep me on my toes. Striving disciple of the GodMan who came, taught and died for me. Thanks for stopping by!
This entry was posted in Christianity, God, Grace, Monty Python and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Contradictions, Part 3: A Dark Place

  1. Pingback: Contradictions, Part 4: Demons and Disciplehood | Disciplehood

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