Monday, February 23, 2015

16 Reasons T.S. Eliot Agreed With Jesus About Our Actions and Motivations

Jesus said, "Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven." His point was pretty clear, there is no eternal value in doing the right things if you do them for the wrong reasons. Here are 16 ideas I have about the things we do and the reasons why we do them:

  1. Doing wrong things for wrong reasons is evil.
  2. Doing wrong things for right reasons is naive.
  3. Doing right things for wrong reasons is selfish.
  4. Doing right things for right reasons is mature.
  5. You cannot earn your way to heaven by doing right things.
  6. One wrong act in your life is enough to disqualify you from heaven.
  7. It only takes a little skunk to ruin a good burger.
  8. The only way to heaven is by accepting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus on your behalf.
  9. If you do good things to impress other people, you probably will; and that will be your reward.
  10. Impressing other people carries with it no eternal benefit.
  11. We ought to do good things to please God out of a heart of gratitude not a sense of obligation.
  12. Habitually doing good things is a sure way to grow our faith (just as habitual exercise is a sure way to grow our health).
  13. Giving a set amount of money each week grows our faith by teaching us dependence on God.
  14. Consistently setting aside regular time to pray grows our faith by enabling us to see Gods answers to our prayers.
  15. Eliminating distractions from our lives grows our faith by empowering us to focus more attention and energy on God.
  16. We grow our faith and deepen our relationship with God by doing the right things for the right reasons.


  1. "One wrong act in your life is enough to disqualify you from heaven." Where did Jesus say that???

  2. Jesus didn't have to say it.... Adam lived it.... Genesis - first book in the Bible.... With a free-will, man (all mankind) inherited the ability to sin... Therefore, even in our sin, God provided a way of restoration... one that is not dependent on sin which will always destroy, but a gift that covers all sin. It is the reason Jesus did what he did... You only need to acknowledge all this, accept it and you will be free...

  3. Before I answer the question, it's important to point out that this is nothing more than a theoretical question, because no one has ever "just sinned once". Thus, it's really a meaningless question. Perhaps this is just an attempt to choose the "weakest link" of the post and argue that. Perhaps it is just an attempt to show me to be wrong.

    I will readily admit I am wrong about many things.

    However, it is also possible that this is an honest question and so I want to engage it with some honest answers. I'm not a big fan of proof-texting, so I will instead try to quickly point you to several passages which all work together to create a picture of human nature and sinfulness.

    If you sin, you are a slave to sin. Jesus said so in John 8:34-35.

    "Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever."

    During his interaction with the woman caught in sin, Jesus made a powerful point about the ability of one sin to render you imperfect and therefore unable to pass judgment on others. While this isn't about "getting into heaven", it is a clear indication that just one sin radically changes your standing before God.

    "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

    Depending on your opinion of biblical authorship, you may or may not attribute non-redletter passages to Jesus. I do, so I would also point to the following passages as helping to inform this position:

    James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.