Don’t you love how we try to bargain with God for our salvation; how we think that we can or have to work our way to heaven? This idea that some religious groups put forth that you can earn your way to heaven, or get pray your way out of hell. I find this in part troubling to say that we can get ourselves into heaven with anything we do, earn extra brownie points kind of thing. As much as I have tried to wrap my head around this, read the justifications for it, something just doesn’t jive. Does this mean we shouldn’t pray for our own lives or others, of course not.

Jesus already paid the price, already earned us the points to wash away our sins. Once we come into identity in full as a child of God, claim in, really understand and live it, cover ourselves in the Blood of Christ, establish a true relationship with the triune God of Abraham, the one true God, we are free from desire to sin, and saved. Remember the account Luke gave of the two thieves on the cross, well he gave that account because he felt it mattered. Each apostle recounted what he felt mattered most, but for Luke this exchange was crucial to understanding redemption. Jesus tells the one who stand up for him that he will be with him in paradise. When Jesus went to hell for three days, and then came back, he conquered eternal damnation, as well as death for all who would come to accept him as Lord and Savior. His suffering, all of it was enough for Jesus to say to us, his Petros, his small rocks on judgment day, who have stayed strong in him, stood by him, the faith no matter what: “You are my Petros and I have forgiven you all things because you have turned away from sin and have not denied me.” He did everything that was necessary for us to have forgiveness and eternal life, but Lucifer and his dark angels through various mediums on earth and by constant reminder and accusation try to keep us in the darkness, in the guilt, in the pain, playing blame games, pointing fingers all that, rather than taking full responsibility, changing our ways and moving forward in Christ, in total unity with the Triune God. It’s a slick strategy, you have to admit, but we have to be smarter than that. We have to be clear about who we are, the price paid, and that we are saved in and by Christ, not in and of ourselves, not by anything we do. I cannot emphasize enough that part of redemption and salvation means we change our sinful behavior. That is paramount and crucial, and requires focus on our being a Petros, a Child of God and living under the Blood of Christ.

That is not to say that once we have accepted Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we wont do good works, we wont want to be like Christ, share God’s love to educate, clothe and feed others. However if we think that if we do all this stuff and pray a bunch of prayers, but have zero change in attitude, behavior and such we will be in the book of life, then we are delusional. Do rituals help, in terms of prayer? Absolutely and the Bible does tell us to keep the Sabbath and Jesus tells to do something in his memory, so we should do that. We should pray, call out to God, thank him daily, talk to Jesus, and ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. All that is part of building a relationship with God, as well as strengthening our faith, family, society and even our nation. However, let us remember that we cannot save ourselves not by ritual, or any means. These things are only for the strengthening and building of relationship and society, but they are not what get us into the Book of Life.

Author's Bio: 

Born in New Jersey, August 1965, this Italian-American has always had a great interest in music, particularly the Oldies, Country and Ethnic music, including Irish. For over 10 years Ms. Appello passionately taught ESL to students of varying ages. Grounded if her Christian faith and spirituality, Katherine endured a range of issues, including a great deal of pain, which was finally diagnosed to be associated with Fibromyalgia. The essence and the power of music, of words, allow Katherine to overcome these struggles each and every time.