Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How do you plan to get to heaven?

I don't know how you're doing, but I'm not good enough to go to heaven. Someone else is getting me in for free. Jesus. Jeff Marian, one of our pastors at UALC, noted in the church newsletter,
    A recent study asked church-goers: Can a good person earn his or her way to heaven?
    52% of Presbyterians,
    54% of Lutherans,
    58% of Episcopalians,
    and 82% of Roman Catholics said YES! Are you among them?

    The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, not by any good deeds that we do. The Bible tells us that salvation is not a program, but a relationship with Jesus! People still need to hear that very basic message of our faith. Are you willing to be a messenger of God’s free gift?
The people in the pew need to hear this every Sunday from the pastors too, because they can be lulled into a works mentality--particularly in our American culture where "bootstrapping" is considered a virtue. They can get so busy and so proud of their accomplishments (or so discouraged by their lack of them) that they forget what the good news is all about. I don't mean the entire message of the sermon has to be on the cross and resurrection followed up with an altar call, but it needs to be the foundation of the sermon. Peter and Paul always laid the ground work when writing to the young Christians in the first century of the church. Then they moved on to the "to do list" of faith.

Accompanying that sermon, it also helps to have a well written liturgy that expresses "and for HIS sake forgives you all your sins," a fabulous, spirit-led choir and director , and some solid hymns that reinforce the good news. That will send us out eager and ready to be a messenger.

1 comment:

Terry said...

yay for solid hymns that reinforce the good news!


is another spot i found you might enjoy, too.

I love doing technorati searches for 'hymns'.

That's how I stumbled on your site.

Thank you for the encouraging thoughts, Norma!