Michael wants an explanation for a comment in a recent blog:
I really liked how today’s blog post simplifies the Christian life into three elements: believe, abide, and love. However, the following statement from the conclusion of the post is confusing:
It is hard to believe that Jesus gives you eternal life as a free gift.
As best as I can recall, GES has never presented the promise of everlasting life as a proposition that is “hard to believe,” until today. Therefore, can you explain why it is hard to believe in Jesus for everlasting life?
I was making a comment based on the response of people within Evangelicalism to the faith-alone message.
If you asked 1,000 Roman Catholics whether Jesus gives everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him, you would find less than ten who said yes. In fact, you might well not find a single Roman Catholic who currently believes that. (Some of them may have believed it in the past.)
The same would be true of Eastern Orthodox, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, and most Protestants.
Now among Baptists you might find that half agreed that Jesus gives everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it. The same might hold true among people in Bible churches.
The bottom line is that probably less than one in ten church people currently believe the faith-alone message.
That is the sense in which I indicated that it is hard to believe the faith-alone message. I was not saying why it is hard. I was simply saying that it is hard to believe.
Michael asks why it would be hard to believe.
Based on John 5:39-40, it is hard to believe what Jesus promises because the traditions of men are contrary to His teachings. That was true of the Judaism of Jesus’ day. And it is true of the Christianity of our day.
People tend to understand the Scripture in light of the way their tradition understands it. Since most traditions today believe in works salvation, they reject the faith-alone message. Others believe in Lordship Salvation, which is really a modified form of works salvation. They too reject the faith-alone message.
I get Michael’s implicit point. How can it be hard to believe what the Son of God has said? Isn’t He always right?
Well, people find ways to understand what He said in ways that are consistent with their tradition. In other words, people find ways of rejecting what Jesus actually said.
We are calling people to believe what Jesus said. I find that refreshing. I’m not seeking to get them to agree with me. I want them to agree with the Lord Jesus Christ.