Monday, March 23, 2015

Living by faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 says" For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

The above is one of my favourite verses and I used to take great comfort in it. However, in our bible study last night I learned there is more to it. Now that we have been justified through faith, we now live in Christ and Christ lives in us.

Galatians 2:19-20: "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Hence, as Christians, although we are no longer condemned by the law, if we live as Christ lives in us, we will also be upholding God's law.

The key difference is this: living under the law, we actually live quite hypocritically, in the sense that we think all is good if we toe the line. However, living in the Spirit requires us to live for God. It is not about just toeing the line anymore, but what is in the heart is just as important. Just the thought of committing sin is as bad as having committed it.

A Christian's view regarding retribution

Buddhists believe in karma. According to one definition, karma is "action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation", or "the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation."

Buddhism teaches that our actions result in retribution or reward, either in this life or in the next. If we do bad, something bad will happen to us. If we do good, we will be rewarded with something good.

The bible does not tell us anything about karma. Jesus himself tells us not to seek revenge, but to "turn the other cheek". Jesus tells us to forgive others when they sin against us. And it is not just outward action that constitutes sin against God, but even what is in our heart can be held against us, in the eyes of God.

The Apostle Paul tells us not to take revenge but to leave room for God's wrath. God's wrath is different from karma. There is no retribution or reward system, but instead all our actions will be judged on the Judgement Day. The following versus cover what I have said above.

Matt 5:38-40
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

Matt 6:14-15
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matt 5: 21-22
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.

Rom 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

John 5:28-29
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

Rev 20:12-13
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.