“You ever hear the expression, ‘Jesus plus’?” Stan asked me while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.
“Jesus plus?” I said. “Not sure. What’s that?”
“While that exact phrase is not used,” Stan replied, “I think that’s what is covered in a particular part of the Bible about the early church. As well, it’s certainly something I’ve seen a lot of times in the modern-day church.”
Continuing, he added, “In the early church, as reported in the Book of Acts, there were some Jewish believers who said that the Gentile believers would have to be circumcised in order to be ‘real’ Christians.”
“Real Christians?” I replied. “Like they were saying that what Jesus had done on the cross wasn’t sufficient by itself and the Gentiles would have to do something else in order to be Christians. Is that what was going on?”
“That’s it,” Stan said. “Jesus plus something else. With the Jewish believers, that ‘something else’ was circumcision. That position was rejected, but that doesn’t mean that the same sort of thing can’t happen today.”
“What sort of same thing?” I asked.
“Thinking that we need to add something to what Jesus did on the cross, rather than accepting what Jesus said just before He died.”
“What did He say?”
“It is finished,” Stan replied. “To me that means just what it says. Jesus’ death on the cross granted me redemption and salvation. Period. When I accepted God’s free and gracious gift through the cross, my separation from God was finished for all of eternity.”
“Nothing else required?” I said.
“Nothing else,” Stan replied. “But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something else expected.”
“Nothing required, but something expected?” I said. “In what way?”
“Plural,” Stan said. “Ways, not way. And, it seems to me, that’s what the whole Christian life is to be about for as long as God leaves me on this side of eternity. I am to live out the salvation that was granted by Jesus’s finished work on the cross.”
Continuing, he added, “Jesus was finished with what the Father had for Him to do, but He’s not finished with me from the standpoint of continual transformation into what He intends for His purposes.”
“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I commented.
“It does, doesn’t it?” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they (the Gentiles) are also. Acts of the Apostles 15:10-11.
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. John 19:30.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not the result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.
And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Ephesians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the free and gracious gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus. Thank you that my acceptance of that gift is all that is required for me to look forward to spending eternity in your presence. You are fully aware of how Satan tries to work in Christians, including me, to try to get us to think there has to be more required than the finished work of Christ. Lord, please make it perfectly clear to me and to all believers that your grace through His shed blood is all that is necessary, and help me to focus on knowing you on this side of eternity rather than getting bogged down by human- and Satan-induced distractions. Thank you I can and do bring before you all of these prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you have accepted Jesus’ finished work on the cross, do you believe that your acceptance is all that is required, but there are other things that are expected of you? Why or why not? If you have the sense that there may be more for you to do in working out the salvation that has been worked in, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?