If there can be no “transaction,” no bargain between you and God to secure your salvation … if you can’t have a proper tit-for-tat of “Jesus dies for my sins and I do good deeds for Him,” then what are you supposed to do to earn your salvation?
Too many evangelicals have been brought up with this notion of the transactional deal of salvation — so they can’t accept God’s blanket acceptance of them just because He loves them.
They want to bring their tally sheet with them to the judgment and show God what a good worker they have been! And why?
Because it is a much easier system than an actual relationship with God.
Easier and less confusing for us competent people to check the boxes, fulfill the requirements, and get the gold star.
This seems to me (and to our beloved Henri Nouwen who gave me the idea) to be the motivation of that lost son we were discussing before — he didn’t want to go home to a father he had wronged and do the messy work of re-establishing a relationship, placing himself back in a group of folks who would have claims of family on him.
He wanted to go back to the homestead as a hired hand, a man who could look at his list of jobs each morning, work his way through them each day, and know that his paycheck would be forthcoming each evening.
It’s simple, and you can rely on yourself to get it done.
But it’s not how the father wanted to relate to the son. He wanted to love him, not employ him.
If you still want your good deeds to count for something, if you’re still mad about the idea that all your suffering to do the right thing won’t save you, I bet you’re still trying to be God’s hired hand.
Let it go. You’re holding onto the wrong God; you’re holding on to the Straw Boss. When you can allow your God to be your Father instead, that’s when the Christ life becomes fun!