A church I once belonged to was doing some training on how to evangelize. And the material we were using used an illustration in trying to explain religion vs. Christianity. The book described religion as something people do. Most people think of religion as something you are supposed to be a part of and do in order to obtain salvation. They referred to it as a works based faith. Meaning, that you can’t get to Heaven without working to get there. On the other hand, Christianity is about what Jesus has already “done” for us on the cross. And the point is that we are saved by God’s grace as it says in Ephesians, so that no one may boast. They didn’t want people thinking Christianity was something you had to earn.
While I agree with the premise of what they are saying, what I found in ministry is that many people stop right there. I am saved, the price has already been paid, and so now I just sit and wait to enjoy the grace and comfort from God. We are saved by God’s grace, not by anything that we have done. And we can’t save ourselves. However, Christianity does call us to a “do.”
Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.'”
Jesus would go on to share the illustration of the wise and foolish builders. He said if you listen to what I say and DO it you will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. If, however, you listen but don’t DO you will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
There is a temptation to take the DO out of Christianity by looking to grace as the pass to sit and wait. That isn’t what Jesus said. Part of being a Christian is accepting the fact that Jesus will want us to DO the things He has already prepared for us to DO.
The long and short of it is, we are saved to do good works. Let’s be true disciples who do the will of our Father, because He saved us so that when we knock on the door on judgment day, He will answer and open wide the door with a “well done, good and faithful servant,” as opposed to a, “I never knew you.”