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Posted by Scott on September 1, 2002 06:35:24 UTC

Hi, Aaron.

Thank you. I gladly accept your apologies. And as long as time allows, I'm more than happy to discuss the topic with you in a polite and civilized manner.

Works won't get you into heaven. Only through accetping Jesus Christ as savior can one get to heaven.

Speaking strictly as a fellow Christian (all other religions aside for the moment): Accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is good. As we pray in the Episcopal Church, "It is very mead and right and our bounded duty that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee." But that is only *one* step out of many toward salvation and eternal life.

It's very easy to lock yourself away in a room somewhere and praise the Lord 'til the cows come home, but what else have you accomplished? If your elderly neighbor falls and she "can't get up" (which, no joking, really happened to my elderly neighbor the other day--and I was the first on the scene to help), does it really matter if your Christian at that particular moment?--She needs help. Perhaps a Muslim goes in to help her, or a Hindu or a Buddhist. You say good works won't get you into heaven, so why bother? You're much too busy sitting in your room praising the Lord. Tell me, which of you has truly carried out God's word? You sitting in your room praising the Lord or the Muslim, the Hindu, and the Buddhist who actually went in to help her? Who will God favor? You or them?

Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. It comes from Christ's teachings in Luke 9:51 through 10:37. The Jews considered the Samaritans unworthy of God's salvation. They believed only themselves candidates for eternal life (heaven) because the Samaritans worshiped differently then they did. Of them, James and John asked Jesus, ["Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them] for their hypocrisy (Luke 9:54). It was then asked of Jesus by an attorney, ["Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25)] Jesus took the occasion to make the point that *how* one worshiped was less important in God's eyes than were the *actions* one takes towards his fellow man. Jesus did so in the form of a story:

[A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a SAMARITAN, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. (Luke 10:30-35)]

After Jesus finished the story, He asked the attorney, ["Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:36-37)] The Word of the Lord.

As you can see, Jesus rebuked hypocrisy and arrogance and opened his Disciples eyes to tolerance of others who may believe differently in faith. The priest and the Levite might speak the "correct" words of worship, but their words are meaningless when the leave the man to die in the road. Instead it will be the Samaritan (despite his different faith) who, though his kindness, will be rewarded by God with eternal life.

ALL the world are God's children. *How* they interpret God isn't important. It's *what* they do.

What more needs to be said?

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