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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 5, 2017

Do Christians become robots?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Some who see themselves as Christians do not agree with their Lord and Master in one very important point. Although Jesus Christi is the same today as He was 2000 years ago, these people reject Jesus' admonition to the rich young man who asked Him about eternal life: "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17).

When the young man asked Jesus which commandments He meant, He quoted from the Ten Commandments. But some professing Christians think that Jesus should have answered the rich young man like this: "You don't have to keep the commandments. I'll do it for you. Don't worry about it, if you accept me as your Savior, I'll be happy to do this for you." They would also add something to their imaginary answer of Jesus that we sometimes hear in today's Christianity: "Don't try to keep the law, because if you think you really have to do what I [Jesus] say, then you would be attempting to earn your salvation by your own works."

What basis do these people think they have for their viewpoint? It is a twisted view of a promise that Jesus gave His disciples: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23). The apostle Paul wrote: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

"Jesus lives in us," they say, "so He does it all for us. We can sit back and let Him do everything."

Yes, Jesus does live in us – no doubt about that! But He doesn't "take control" of our life like a demon that forces a possessed person to think and do things. God doesn't force Himself upon anyone! He doesn't turn us into mindless robots when His son dwells in us.

Instead, every day we are faced with a choice: Am I going to walk in the flesh or in spirit (Galatians 5:24-25)? "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling", Paul tells us (Philippians 2:12). Choosing to walk in the spirit and to live by the spirit takes work – effort!

And as was the case in Paul's life, we will stumble and fall at times: "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do" (Romans 7:14-15).

And when we stumble, we can be assured that God will forgive us if we ask Him for forgiveness, do not justify our stumbling and continue to "work out our own salvation" by exerting effort to "walk in the spirit": "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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