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If works aren't important, sin isn't important

Postby Silence » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:59 pm

Those who believe works aren't important believe sin isn't important.

Many Christians would contend that the criteria to get to Heaven has nothing to do with the works you do on Earth. They might believe that faith in Christ is enough to get a free ticket to Heaven. This to me seems to be in opposition to the often said phrase that God punishes sin.

It wouldn't matter if you sin or have sinned if faith in God gives one a pass to Heaven. A Christian committing the worst sins imaginable would get rewarded in the end if this is true. The only measuring stick would be picking the right religion. Our acts on Earth would therefore be meaningless. The only thing that would matter for a person is if they choose Christianity.

It would be disturbing for a God to set up a system where all atrocities would be overlooked if you just appeal to him and bow down. A human judge would be condemned for such actions. It would seem to me that those who believe works aren't important would in turn believe that sin and the punishment of sin is no big deal. After all, God won't hold it against us for our sins, right?
Silence
 

Re: If works aren't important, sin isn't important

Postby jimwalton » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:59 pm

Let me explain how it all works. Whether or not you go to heaven or hell has nothing to do with the works you do on earth, just as you said. It has nothing to do with whether you are good or bad. Those who have the nature of Jesus go to heaven, and those who are still in their sin nature do not. We are all born with a sin nature (it doesn't mean we're evil or wicked, but only that we are born separated from God). The nature of Jesus is offered to us as a free gift based on the death and resurrection of Jesus himself. Anyone who will choose to believe who Jesus is and what he has done for us, give their life to God, and live in a love relationship with him receives the free gift of salvation and forgiveness, and they spend eternity with God. Anyone who refuses that invitation, even if they are good people, do not go to heaven.

After that, however, the Bible teaches us that there are degrees of reward in heaven, based on your works on earth, and there are degrees of punishment in hell, also based on your works. Reward and punishment are fair based on the life a person lived. If they were a good person but didn't receive God's gift of salvation, their punishment will be slight, and some Christians even believe that further opportunities to come to God may be offered to them. Those who were evil people may also have opportunity to be reconciled with God after appropriate judgment. Those who eternally refused to be reconciled with God will be eternally punished.

In like manner, those who go to heaven because they accepted God's free gift and were made into new creations (given the nature of Jesus) will receive a reward based on what kind of life they lived, i.e., their works.

So it's not one punishment fits all and the others all get the same reward. It's all appropriate to their works. But how you get to heaven or hell has nothing to do with works.

So God still punishes sin, for sure, both in those who come to him and those who don't. It does matter what kind of life you lead. Your good works don't earn you a ticket to heaven, however. And atrocities will face the severest of punishments—the punishment will fit the crime, for sure.
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