A Protestant minister recently explained to me that we weren’t Christian because of our belief that we must strive to “keep the commandments” and obey God, for this means we are denying the grace of Christ and relying on works instead of Christ to save us. To be fair, this wasn’t the only reason we aren’t Christian: there are many points of doctrine and interpretation of scripture where we differ from his infallible views, thus showing that we worship a “different Jesus” and cannot possibly be saved by faith in Christ. The only true Jesus, of course, interprets Isaiah and Daniel the way my evangelical friend does: any departure in understanding means you’re worshiping a false god or demon. Faith alone saves, as long as you can also pass a scorching theology quiz.
According to some Protestant interpretations of Matthew 19, Christ is being ironic or even sarcastic when answering the young man who asks what he must do to be saved. The correct answer of course, is something like, “Do? What on earth makes you think you can do anything to be saved? You are saved by faith alone.” The phrase “faith alone” or “faith only” is biblical, FYI, being found (just once) in the New Testament. Please don’t worry about where it is mentioned or in what context, that will only muddy the waters. For now I wish to focus on understanding Matthew 19, where, when asked what one must do to be saved, Christ responded with a phrase that can be found throughout the scriptures: “Keep the commandments.” Or more specifically, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Is there exchange an example of Christ’s sarcasm? Or a loving, sincere attempt to help this rich young man drop what was standing between him and God in order to become more whole and a true follower of Jesus Christ? You might guess the answer, but in the 20-minute podcast below, I offer a few additional angles and thoughts on this topic.
The mp3 file may download slowly – I would appreciate any suggestions for a better way to play the file in Blogger. Have tried Google Docs and FileFreak as hosting sources. Both seem slow. The MP3 file is 20 Meg.