Saturday, 5 July 2014

Romping Our Way To Heaven?

Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

One of the things on my current reading docket is a two-volume collection of writings by A.W. Tozer called, “Tozer Speaks.” In it I found this little nugget that made me sit up and say, Hmm.

I want to make a plea for basic righteousness, justice and honesty. Many in our day have forgotten that our fathers said, ‘Let’s do right, even if the world falls, or if the sky caves in.’ Shrewdness has taken the place of honesty, and we can no longer say with sincerity that we are a righteous people. Even religion – yes, fundamental religion – seems to be built around the idea that Jesus Christ did all the dying, God does all the justifying, and you and I can just romp our way to heaven, with nothing expected of us and no questions asked. Don’t believe it! Don’t believe it! If the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cure a man of dishonesty, it cannot guarantee his entrance into the kingdom of heaven.”

What are we to make of that? Here are some of my random musings around this quote.

First of all, I noticed that Tozer used the word “Romp.” That’s an interesting word. My dictionary says it means “an enjoyable time of rough and noisy play.” It reminds me of the old children’s TV show, “Romper Room.” Have some of us taken on a haphazard and laissez-faire approach to “basic righteousness, justice and honesty?” Are we rough and noisily playing our way through this life? Are we romping our way to heaven? Is it all a game? I hope not.

Having said that, if we believe that there are no conditions attached to salvation, does that mean that there are also no responsibilities? If there are responsibilities that we each have towards our fellow man, and if we deliberately ignore those responsibilities, then maybe we can say with Tozer that we “can no longer say with sincerity that we are a righteous people.”

However, in my way of thinking, there’s another question that has to be asked first: Were we ever truly a righteous people in the first place? No, not in and of ourselves we aren’t. “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Paul speaks about us not having a righteousness of our own by means of obeying the law (and maybe we’re bordering on legalism here too), but that any righteousness that we do have comes strictly by faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9).

Yes, Jesus paid it all, and God has given each of us a free will, but does that mean that we then have no responsibility to conduct ourselves within a right framework based upon orthodox Christian ethics? Is there even such a thing? Does our “freedom” mean that we are licensed to sin (Jude 4) and live our lives however we want (Romans 6: 1-2) because grace has us covered? Has “sin” become subjective and thereby subject to interpretation? To listen to some professing Christians debate various “hot-potato” topics, sometimes I wonder.

Maybe dishonesty among professing Christians is a sign that, as Tozer suggests, claimed salvation may in fact be little more than a pseudo-salvation because it ironically keeps people out of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). But that raises all sorts of other questions, and I think I’ve asked enough questions for now to give us plenty to chew on.

Thanks for listening to my rambling musings. As always, you’re welcome to share a comment or two if you wish. Peace and Blessings to you and yours.

Photo Credit: Niccolo Caranti, Flickr Creative Commons

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