Can I Think My Way to Heaven?

Can I think my way to heaven?  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  Yet this question sums up a popular approach to salvation. 

This question represents a knowledge-based salvation.  The path of salvation is through the mind, and reason becomes the highest form of spiritual attainment.  Apologetics is king in this world.  Logical, reasoned arguments for God’s existence trump all else. 

The fervent believer confronts science and philosophy and worldly wisdom with a point by point logical, scientific rational defense of God, the Resurrection, Creation, the Virgin Birth, the problem of evil, etc.  Ideas are consumed with consent and commitment, but nothing substantial happens to the believer, yet facts are provided providing a system to make good decisions and give an appearance of holiness. 

Understanding’s competitor is Union. 

This is salvation by communion, connection, dipping into the currents of grace so the residue of death is sheared away replaced by a renewed man.  Union is a relationship threatening yourself & existence, compelling you to lie upon an altar expecting death, but trusting for resurrection. 

Stand these two paths side by side, and the differences become clear. 

Understanding:     Facts are Important
Union:                  Action is important

Understanding:    The Bible is a sourcebook for information
Union:                  The Bible is a touchstone uniting man with Christ

Understanding:     Theology is an analytical knowledge of God and the way 
                             He works in the world.
Union:                  Theology is uniting with God in prayer.

Understanding:     Church is a gathering of like minded believers for 
                              encouragement to learn, teach, and understand
Union:                  Church is a vehicle drawing you into a deeper communion 
                             with God

Understanding:     The Lord’s Supper is designed to remember the facts and 
                              consequences of Christ’s sacrifice.
Union:                  The Lord’s Supper is partaking of the life of God and the 
                             action of the Cross into your being. 

Understanding:     Baptism is an announcement of a person’s commitment 
                             to certain beliefs about Christ.
Union:                  Baptism is becoming submerged into the life of Christ. 

Understanding:     Evangelism is the persuasion of others to believe a set of facts.
Union:                  Evangelism is the persuasion of others to join with the God 
                            of the universe to be transformed.

We live in a knowledge based world crying, "Knowledge is power", but communion is where real transformation lies.  

Theron Mathis

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