Being saved is like being lost in a big city and unable to find the hotel where you have made reservations. You have tried to follow the map without success. You have asked a few of the people bustling about you and that also without success. You notice a small book store with a sign saying “Wisdom is Power” and decide to go inside and ask for directions. The man at the counter begins with, “You must turn around, you are going in the wrong direction.” He continues with lengthy verbal instructions…only to notice the lost look in your eyes and the despair in your face….. …knowing you will never get there by yourself. He stops, comes around the counter and takes your hand saying, “Come with me. I am the way.” He proceeds to lock up his bookstore and lead you to your hotel destination. “Come follow me.” The parable does not end here, because now you must have faith in that man to trust him and follow him and walk with him…..all the way to your destination.
Now you see that the worldly and religious interpretation of repentance and obedience often bring offense due to misunderstanding. But, when you know the true meaning of repentance as changing and going in the opposite direction; and obedience as following directions and instructions and walking together with…..then you know the grace and love that initiated those corresponding actions/reactions/works that you did by repentance and obedience. And it is faith that enabled you to follow through by trusting in, depending on, relying on the One who you decided to follow. So, it is not works that save us. We are saved by love and grace. But, if we really follow through on being His, then by faith we need to walk with Him. Our works are the “proof” of our faith, repentance, and obedience.
Now these hard verses make sense….
“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” James 2:17 (If you say you have faith, but do not follow, you are not going to get there.)
Jesus said in John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
If we want to get to our reserved room in heaven, we must ask the Guide who will show us the True Way by walking there with us, a Living Way together. We must repent of going our own way or any other way someone might suggest, change around and go His way (repentance). By faith and trusting Him, we must take His arm and walk with Him. We must willingly and obediently and lovingly follow….not by struggling or arguing with Him…or trying to pull Him in another direction….or not listening to Him when He says, “We must walk this way”.
It is a long and narrow road that leads to this destination….and many people are still bustling about trying to find their own way or following blind leaders. Who will we trust to get us to the good destination? Ourselves? Others? Blind leaders? Charismatic personalities? There is only One True Way.
Repentance and Obedience are extremely positive words full of hope, faith, love, grace, and mercy. He offers His arm to lead us there Himself! He is the Way!