I was watching a video produced by Frontline Missions called “Dispatches from the Front” Tim Kesee about 2 years ago. They have a series of videos that spotlight a missionary in a certain part of the world. It is a great series and opens your eyes to what these missionaries go through and the difficulties they face but more so, it shows the hand of God and how the Gospel is moving to some pretty bad areas of this world.
In the video I was watching, there was a scene where Tim was at an AIDS clinic in Cambodia, I believe, and it was ran by Buddhist monks. Tim made a comment that convicted me to the core and has stuck with me. After seeing the care and love one of the monks showed during Tim’s visit, Tim said to the effect that he was convicted himself seeing a monk who is heading for eternal hell because his beliefs can show more love and compassion than most Christians he knows. That hit me so hard because Tim was talking about me.
How can a non-saved person, lost with no hope for eternal salvation show more love than a born again Christian who was shown so much love? I have sat on that and parked that idea in my head and heart ever since I heard Tim say it. I believe that I can see how this can happen. When a Christian becomes a born again, we are saved by God’s Grace and through our faith in the redemptive work on the Cross by Jesus Christ, death, burial and resurrection. That is it, it is not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “ 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. We tell ourselves that we cannot do anything to get into Heaven so we don’t. We are in by Grace and that is where many sit. They do not continue to do works as a result of faith because they are stuck in the “not a result of works” phrase in Ephesians, a loophole if you will. But James 2:14-26 says that faith without works is dead. James is not saying that works will save but that works are the manifestation of faith in a Christian’s life. We do works because of our faith. We know we are saved by God’s grace alone.
So why is it that these people, not just Buddhist, can do so much for humanity yet fall short and never enter into Heaven? It is by their beliefs that they can make it into Heaven by works. The Catholics believe that they can work their way into Heaven, Hindu proclaims that spiritual Nirvana can be obtained by doing good works. All these belief systems are great for humanity and life here on earth. But how are these systems in death? What can all the good each person does towards humanity do for their eternal wellbeing? Absolutely nothing. Sad to say but there is only one way to spend eternity in Heaven with God and that is by His grace.
I believe there is something we can take away from these followers of false systems. As Christians we need to do works to show our faith alone and not for salvation. We must have the compassion and love for the sick and the lost as those that are living as if their works will mean something in the end. We must remember that they are all terminally ill and that these people will face eternal damnation. As humanitarian work is great and allows Christians to show the love of Christ to the world, their salvation is of utmost priority.
I pray that Christians around the world would not be complacent and sit on the Grace that God showed them thinking they are “good” and do not have to do anything but go to church. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom and a child of God. You are supposed to be a reflection of Christ, you Christian. That is what the word means. A terrible insult given to Christ followers in the early days of the church. But what a privilege it is to be called His! Show the love that is shown to you. Let the dark world be lit up by your light!
In Christ <><