With Bayana Chunga:
Christianity is both cognitive and volitional. It goes beyond a decision. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ translated into God fearing attitudes that affect and direct the course of our actions. Doing the will of God involves daily discipline and conformity to the dictates of scripture.
But are good works enough indicator for us to tell that someone is saved?
Every time Jesus Christ talked about evidence of Salvation he referred to behaviour. The way we live reveals who we are. The way we treat others gives away our identity. In John 13 vs. 35 Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
At no time did Jesus claim that his followers would be identified by the methodologies that we so much propagate today. Wailing in a worship service can be a relieving experience but it is not a guarantee that someone is saved. Even a non- believer can cry!
In his book “Am I Really a Christian?” Mike McKinley makes an interesting argument, “It is true that we need to make a one time decision to follow Jesus. But a true one time decision is followed by the every day decision to follow Jesus.”
Following Jesus is not a secret affair that happens in bedrooms and Church Vestries and remains concealed forever. On the contrary, Salvation is a personal relationship with Jesus whose fruit is an outpouring presence of Godliness in our speech, thoughts and actions. Faith without works is dead.
Works alone, however, are not enough to prove ones salvation. Even non-believers can do good works! I have seen several atheists in my life who donate generously to social causes, people who risk their lives for others but yet deny the power of the Cross.
We often misread what Jesus said about good works. Jesus qualified good works. In John 8 vs. 31 Jesus said,” To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (NIV)
Other versions of scripture replace ‘hold’ with ‘continue’ or “remain”. Jesus is raising a significant argument on good works. According to Jesus, good works can only be used to indicate those that are saved if we continue to the end.
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3:6.
Those that are truly saved will hold and continue in the faith to the very end. They will produce fruits not to impress but because that is who they have become.
Those that do good works today and tomorrow abandon them never belonged to Jesus! Those that are in Christ Jesus will carry on their faith to the end. That is what scripture says. “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us,” 1 John 2 vs. 19.
It is difficult to consistently produce good works outside Jesus Christ. Sooner or later the truth will thrust out. Consistent good works cannot be produced single-handedly. We need Jesus Christ! “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15 vs. 5.
Those that truly believe in Jesus Christ will not depart from his ways. Those that leave, never belonged to him in the first place! This is a doctrinal subject for another day.