On Thrursday the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs by a score of 11 to 1. This score included 3 home runs by Enrique Hernandez that netted 7 RBI's, and tied the NL record for the largest number of home runs in a single game of the NLCS. To say that the team was ecstatic would be an understatement. But how would the Dodgers have felt if the Commissioner of Baseball had come to them before the NLCS even began and told them that they had won the 7 game series without playing a single game due to an obscure rule that said that under certain conditions the Commissioner could 'declare' a winner by fiat, simply making a statement of faith that the Dodgers would (in his opinion) have won anyway, so why play the game. Do you think the Dodgers or the sponsors would have been 'ecstatic' if this happened? I personally think that the team would have filed a protest with the league to let them play and EARN the right to go to the World Series on their own. Most everyone that is involved in sports wants to win because they proved that they were better than the 'other guy'.
Why then are people that declare themselves to be Christian happy to accept 'salvation by grace through faith' that essentially does the same thing; taking the joy of overcoming out of the act of winning! Yet this is EXACTLY what the Apostle Paul says happened when Jesus 'died on the cross to save us from and in our sins'. Jesus does not reward someone for overcoming simply because they think (have been told) that He has overcome for them, so they do not have to overcome for themselves.
When you read the words of Jesus that He gave to His own eyewitness disciples you find that we must 'overcome as He overcame'. In order to 'be like Jesus' we must BE like Jesus, that is, righteous and holy because we overcame as did he.
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