OUR BELOVED LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE SOLE REDEEMER OF SINFUL MANKIND, BUT DOES OUR LIFESTYLE QUALIFY US FOR HIS SAVING WORK?
Col. 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; [and more instructions what we have to do in order to qualify for Christ’s saving work] … the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (v. 6)…put off all these, anger…malice…filthy communication (v.8) ￼… Lie not to one another (v. 9)…put on charity (v. 14)…he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done” (v.25) (King James Version). Jesus says, “You are my friends if you keep my commandments” (e.g. Jn 14:21).
Do we always live our life as those lines from the Bible tell us to? Do we even always follow the Commandments? Which human can say that they are once and for all free from continuing to sin, in spite of all good resolutions? Sometimes we don’t even notice sin, or we aren’t really sorry for our misdeeds and failings! Therefore Heaven for me and you as a definite guaranteed destination is not fixed, but a lifelong, ongoing process. Of course our dearly beloved Lord Jesus Christ did the Redeeming Work for all mankind, primarily through His obedience to the Father’s Will, but whether we QUALIFY for it by obedience to His Will (as what ruined it all was Adam’s disobedience of wanting to be like God and disobedience) is what matters.
This is not a process that ‘happens to us once we accept Jesus as Saviour’, but an ACTIVE process on our part as the Bible text explicitly states. Faith is not something to boast with, because it is a GRACE from God – it is rather something to be very thankful for. To have the chance to be saved, the Bible says that apart from faith, we need hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of them is charity (1 Cor 13:13).
We do not qualify as Jesus’ friends if we do not “do what He says” in order to count as “His friends”.
The way is narrow, we have to actively work on ourselves with the help of His grace to be able to reduce our sin, because the Holy Spirit, whom some people claim will make them “Christ-like against their own free will” does, contrary to fancy rather wishful thinking, NOT override our free will to sin or to trivialise sin. The Holy Spirit doesn’t sin and doesn’t tolerate sin, and yet “born-again believers” sin, obviously, several times a day, day in day out, year in year out, without significant improvement – this is the proof that their theory doesn’t work.
Every baptised Christian is born again, because “Unless a man is born again through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:5). But that doesn’t mean we can sit back. After all, we are on earth to help bring the kingdom about, to renounce selfishness and instead bring good fruit. That’s what all of us will be judged upon after our earthly pilgrimage is completed.
As the Bible text says, we need to make an active effort to stamp out our sin and the occasions of sin (a great part of this by our free will) in order to qualify for Jesus’ Redemptive Work. We know what He has to say about unfruitful branches. Our Lord said Heaven doesn’t happen automatically to everyone who called Him “Lord, Lord”. That is why He spent three years instructing us what we need to avoid and do ACTIVELY and also told us to pray, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive [for starters we are not saved if we don’t forgive and meekly and humbly tuck away every wrong done to us, however small or big], don’t lead us into temptation, deliver us from evil” – if you had a guaranteed ticket to heaven, He wouldn’t impress that you have to pray these lines regularly.
The Apostles, in order to be Jesus’ friends and to qualify, gave up everything material, lived only spiritual, and then Paul still said that he is not sure, even when he tries to bring his body under subjection by fasting and foregoing other pleasures and vanities, ‘not that I who have preached to others will end up being thrown in the flames” (1 Cor 9:23-27; Phil 3:12-15; etc.).
Thanks be to God for the Sacraments of the Church, outward signs of inward grace, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls.