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Repenting And Doing vs. Saying You Will But Not Doing

Introduction

In the Parable of the Two Sons, Jesus specifically taught a lesson that repentance is measured by action that follows. God could care less what you say if it is not followed up by obedience consistent with your mental belief. This lesson mirrored Jesus’ citation of the example of the Ninevites as repentance (Matt. 12:41). For their mental sorrow had no validity until their words were followed by consistent action. God did not repent of His plans to punish the Ninevites until God “saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways.” (Jonah 3:10.) Hence, repentance, to be valid, always implies the necessity to turn from sin. Mere sorrow for sin has no effect to stave off God’s ire for your sin.

In Matthew 21:28-31, Jesus illustrates this principle in the story of two sons. One says he will do His father’s will, but then does not do it. The other son says he will not obey, but ultimately “repents” and does what His father asked.

Jesus asks: who did God’s will?

Obviously, the son who repented and did what he was told. It was not the son who verbally agreed to do his father’s will but then failed to do it. As P.G. Mathew said in a 1997 sermon at Grace Valley Christian Center, this parable means:

God is not impressed with a profusion of confession unless that confession is followed by Christian conduct.

See P. G. Mathew, M.A., M.Div., Th.M, “Self-Delusion Exposed: Matthew 7:21-23,” Grace Valley Christian Center (Sermon October 12, 1997), available online at http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~gvcc/sermon_trans/1997/Self_Delusion_Exposed.html (accessed 7-01-07).

The German evangelical minister Friedrich Gustav Lisco (1791-1866) likewise says, the son who makes a good profession but then is “without obedience,” is “kept out of the kingdom” while the “publicans and harlots go in before you.” (Frederick Lisco, The Parables of Jesus (trans. Rev. Fairbairn)(Philadelphia:1850) at 146.)

Lisco is correct that salvation is promised to the obedient one, while the disobedient is “kept out of the kingdom” despite a good profession. Jesus emphasized this was a lesson impacting salvation. Jesus equates the first son’s action of doing the will of the father with “publicans and harlots.” They are in contrast to the second son who symbolizes the religious leaders who preach obedience, but don’t obey. They are like the religious ruler and Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan who pass by the wounded man. (Luke 10:31-32.)

Jesus then equates the actions of the good son in the story with salvation for the ones who have repented from sin to a new life: publicans and harlots: “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Mat 21:31, ASV.)

As we will explore, the Greek actually means “the publicans and harlots are promoted over you into the kingdom of God.” The vague “before you” translation is apparently chosen to suggest the disobedient son still enters heaven, but in second place behind the publicans and harlots. This translation protects cheap grace, as we shall see.

Instead, Jesus’ expression in this parable is meant to imply exclusion of the religious leaders from the kingdom who say they will obey but don’t. As Lisco said in the quote above, Jesus means the disobedient son is “kept out of the kingdom.” Moreover, this translation is more consistent with Jesus’ repeated teaching that the religious leaders were blocking salvation for themselves, as well as for their proselytes. (Matt. 23:13-23.) Similarly, the religious ruler and Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan are the ones who disobeyed the command to love your neighbor, which Jesus had just said is necessary to obey to have “eternal life.” (Luke 10:25,27,28,31,32.) The second (disobedient) son in the parable, who is a symbol of these religious leaders, therefore must be lost. The second son (the disobedient son) does not enter heaven merely behind the publicans and harlots.

Thus, the Parable of the Two Sons was not about Jesus saying the disobedient son still enjoys heaven but as a second class citizen. As we shall see below, the Modern Gospel of Cheap Grace is forced into arguing this position. Jesus does not agree with cheap grace which says sincere words rather than obedience is what matters. Thus, many faith-alone commentators will argue Jesus meant to imply the religious leaders who are disobedient are still saved. The religious leaders supposedly enter heaven as second class citizens. (This is thoroughly explored below.)

However, this reading is only to serve the Modern Gospel of Cheap Grace. But why? What explains this spin? The Modern Gospel is always trying to destroy Jesus’ point that action consistent with repentance will entitle one to heaven and not mere sincere words. They seek to frustrate Jesus’ true message that the promise of salvation does not belong to those who say they will do God’s will but then disobey. Because Jesus’ true intent destroys the doctrine of cheap grace, these commentators vigorously distort the passage. They are actually saying with a straight-face that Jesus promises salvation for the disobedient son in this parable! Yet that idea is a preposterous notion.

Clearly, Jesus’ point was precisely the opposite. Jesus’ message is that the promise to obey without corresponding obedience is worthless. The disobedient are lost despite a good profession. However, a true repentance with corresponding action gives you the right to be promoted over the disobedient into heaven.

The Fig Tree Event Sets The Context Of This Parable

This Parable of the Two Sons comes on the heels of the recent episode with the fig tree. (See Matt. 21:18-22.) John Broadus says this episode explains the Parable of the Two Sons: “The same fault had been illustrated that morning by the fig-tree, which made great show of leaves, but had no fruit.” (John A. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew (1886)(reprint Kregel Classics: 1990) at 438.) Jesus promises the tree without good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. (Matt. 7:19.) Jesus is warning loss of salvation for lacking repentance unto actual obedience. This point is reiterated in the Parable of the Two Sons. Jesus is not promising salvation to the religious rulers as second-class citizens for their disobedience, as the fabulists of Cheap Grace must insist.

Let’s study this passage carefully to test their reading.

The Passage

Here is the entire passage in the ASV. Jesus says:

(28) But what think ye? A man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in the vineyard.

(29) And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went.

(30) And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

(31) Which of the two did the will of his father? They say, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

(32) For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye saw it, did not even repent yourselves afterward, that ye might believe him. (Mat 21:28-32, ASV.)

The Greek word translated in verse 31 as “go in before you” is a poor translation. The verb infinitive is proagô. It generally is said to mean “to lead forward, on, or onward.” Here it is the Greek present participle, so it is has a continuous meaning. Because this is the linchpin word that some use to argue that Jesus means the disobedient son still enters the kingdom of God (see the next section), let’s take a very close look at the word proagô.

Does Jesus really mean to imply the disobedient enter heaven but do so as second class citizens?

Liddell-Scott (LS) is the best Greek Lexicon. When we subtract all their cites, we get these meanings:

A. [1] lead forward or onward, escort on their way,

2. [a] carry on, produce, brought to a point

b. bring on (in age)

c. increase, raise (a dose)

3. [a] bring forward, call up (an apparition)

b. bring before a tribunal

4. lead on, induce, persuade.

5. [a] carry forward, advance; lead it on to power; carried it so far; carry on and complete;

b. of persons, promote or prefer to honor.

c. prefer in the way of choice

II. Intransitive.

lead the way, go before.

2. metaph., the preceding discourse

3. go on, advance

4. excel.

Liddell-Scott Lexicon. To pull up the Liddell-Scott lexicon, go to http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0155&layout=&loc=Matthew+21.1, and then go to verse 32, and highlight proagusin, and the pop up will give you this definition. (Last accessed 6/19/06).

Thus, in Greek, when this verb is used about persons, in particular between two qualitatively different groups, Liddell-Scott (“LS”) says it means one group is promoted or preferred to an honor over another. (Definition 5, b above.)

There is a perfect example of this Greek usage in early Christianity. In the “canons of Nicaea” (325 A.D.) proagô meant “to promote in clerical rank.” (Michael J. Hollerich, Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on Isaiah: Christian Exegesis in the Age of Constantine (Oxford University Press: 1999) at 184.)

If we use this meaning here, it excludes the possibility that the disobedient group is likewise sharing that same honor of entering the kingdom. Because this meaning in LS 5, b fits both the context and Jesus elsewhere telling us the disobedient religious leaders are going to hell (Matt.23:13-23), this must be regarded as the correct translation.

Thus, using the correct Greek usage here (5, b above), this key verse should have been translated:

Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots are being promoted over you [or INSTEAD OF YOU] into the kingdom of God.

The obedient move up to the kingdom. The disobedient don’t. That’s the message of Jesus.

This obvious deduction is corroborated by other commentators.

Commentaries That Agree The Disobedient Son Is Unsaved

Lectionary Bible Series

The Lectionary Bible Series comments on Jesus’ meaning. It says Jesus’ point is the one who did not obey His father is left outside of the kingdom. The disobedient are left behind the publicans and tax collectors who are permitted to go in ahead of them. It is absurd to imply Jesus means the son who disobeys is going to be saved anyway:

Proagousin (proagw) “are entering [the kingdom of God] ahead of you” - are going before you, are preceding you. Those who never accepted God’s authority over them are now accepting it in Jesus and are entering the kingdom, while those who once accepted it, now reject it in Jesus and find themselves outside the kingdom....Barclay. “Ahead of” is possibly “instead of,” “in place of,” but unlikely.

“Matthew: The authority of Jesus. 21:23-32,” Lectionary Bible Studies and Sermons at http://www.lectionarystudies.com/studyg/sunday26ag.html (last accessed 6/21/06.)

Thus, we see the Lectionary say some translate the Greek to mean instead of you. It says this is ‘unlikely,’ but there is no peculiar reason why this is so. The idea of promotion, which Liddell Scott and early church usage supports, would mean the obedient son goes in as a promotion over and instead of the disobedient son. Thus, instead of would properly convey the Greek meaning.

Even though the Lectionary quibbles over how the verse is worded, it still has the right conclusion. Jesus’ point must mean the son who said he would obey but later disobeys never reaches the entry point. The Greek means he is left “outside of the kingdom.” A crisp way of saying this is that the obedient enters instead of the disobedient. The Lectionary reached this similar conclusion without making the exhaustive analysis of the Greek, yet it has the correct conclusion.

Furthermore, the context and tenor of the parable dictate this. It would be completely incongruous to suggest Jesus is saying the only consequence of accepting God’s commands but then later failing to obey is you enter heaven behind the more obedient of God’s children. Such a view would be also inconsistent with all of Jesus’ teachings that repentance from sin is essential to salvation. For example, Jesus teaches in Mark 9:42-48 that you can enter heaven maimed or hell whole. Repentance from sin that successfully turns, in fact, from sin, is crucial to eternal life. Thus, the Lectionary is correct that those left behind are left “outside the kingdom.”

Forerunner Commentary

This commentary correctly sees the two sons as defined by a difference in action:

The second is a big talker, full of promises but no action. In these two men, Christ describes, on the one hand, sinners of all types, who, when convicted by John the Baptist and Himself, turned away from their iniquities, repented, and obeyed God. On the other hand are the scribes, Pharisees, and other self-righteous people who feign a zeal for the law but will not receive the gospel.

http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/23855/eVerseID/23858 (last accessed 3/22/07).

Let’s examine closely what this says about the two sons by comparing and contrasting their labels:

First Son

(Repentant & Obedient)

Second Son

(Disobedient)

“turned away from their iniquities”

“feign a zeal for the law”

“repented”

“not receive the gospel”

“obeyed God”

 

These contrasts correctly reveal Jesus’ meaning. Not receiving the Gospel is thereby equated correctly by the Forerunner Commentary with failing to turn away from sin, repenting and obeying God and instead feigning a zeal for the Law.

Elsewhere, the Forerunner Commentary says the second son (the religious leaders) represents

hypocrites, those who appear or profess one way but act another. The work the father asks them to do corresponds to living God’s way of life.

This is also highly accurate and informative. Yet, it has drifted a bit from the contrasts Jesus uses. These contrasts quoted above hold tighter to Jesus’ point. The good son is the one who rebelled at first but then repents and obeys. The bad son is the one who says he will obey but ends up being disobedient.

Thus, the bad son is not lost because he professed insincerely or was a hypocrite initially in the profession. Jesus never focuses on those issues in this passage. Jesus never tries here to expose any hypocrisy in the profession. For all we know it could have been sincere by the disobedient son. Rather, Jesus makes the dividing line between the two sons based on how they each acted differently later. The key to this passage is not to focus on whether one made a hypocritical profession. Rather, it is how the lost are saved by being obedient after a wrong profession which is in contrast against those who profess correctly but later don’t obey!

In a word, Jesus has made the issue of salvation turn on obedience in this parable. In a sense, Jesus is saying your profession no matter how sincere is insufficient if your obedience does not follow.

As Jesus also said, we will be “judged” by every idle word that leaves our lips. (Matt. 12:36.) Thus, if we profess repentance from sin, but do not follow through, God will judge us for not doing what we said we would do. Matthew Henry puts it quite well: God will “judge them out of their own mouths.”

This is why the Forerunner is then incorrect to suggest the second son’s fault was insincerity in his profession. To repeat, Jesus is not drawing attention to any defect in the profession itself of the second son. It might have been with the very best of intentions and very sincere, for all we know. People can say one thing, and change their mind later.

What Jesus is pointing out is the second son’s failure to subsequently act consistent with his profession. By contrast, the first son who initially said he would disobey (a bad profession) then repented and obeyed. Each acts differently than he professes he would do. Only the one who obeys God is saved. That’s the point.

Cheap Grace Commentaries On Matthew 21:28-32: The Disobedient Son Is Saved!

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Regarding this parable, Robertson’s Word Pictures only has it half right. He correctly understands what Jesus means by the son who repents. “But the one who actually did the will of the father is the one who repented and went [to obey]....” Robertson agrees Jesus means true repentance is the one who actually did the will of the father. Mere words of the second son that he would obey are not enough. Robertson concedes Jesus means mere remorse without action to follow is not true repentance. Robertson closes: “mere sorrow is not repentance.”

What did Jesus imply would happen to the Jewish leaders who were mouthing obedience but who disobeyed God? Because of adherence to the Modern Gospel of Cheap Grace, Robertson tries to imply that Jesus does not mean to say the disobedient Jewish leaders will be lost. (If Jesus did mean they were lost, then this undermines cheap grace which claims that disobedience is not the cause of damnation.) Robertson says Jesus wants us to think the disobedient merely take second seat in heaven to the publicans and harlots. Thus, their problem is merely complacency, not the failure to act consistent with their profession. Listen to this subtle undermining of Jesus’ lesson:

Go before you (proagousin). “In front of you” (Weymouth). The publicans and harlots march ahead of the ecclesiastics into the kingdom of heaven. It is a powerful indictment of the complacency of the Jewish theological leaders.

This is completely wrong. Robertson loses the meaning of the lesson by insisting the Weymouth translation means the disobedient son is saved but arrives in second place inside heaven. Robertson is suggesting that Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders they are saved. They are supposedly going to enter heaven because they accepted God’s commands initially even though they later disobeyed them.

Robertson’s spin is designed to say this passage is not how disobedience to your profession causes the loss of salvation. Nor is this supposedly about how only true repentance by action leads to salvation. Robertson turns it into a passage about rewards. So the only difference for those who repent and actually do the will of the Father is they supposedly march into heaven ahead of those believing Jewish leaders who at first accepted but later failed to do the will of God. This is a ridiculous reading!

It is amazing how commentators nullify Jesus’ obvious messages at every turn in slavish adherence to faith alone.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: A More Conflicted Message

Henry’s commentary is notable too for agreeing with Jesus but then subtly undermining it too. Henry begins correctly saying Jesus means that the work which the father wants is obedience to do God’s commands. The father asks the son to go work today in my vineyard. Henry says this “gospel call to work in the vineyard, requires present obedience.” Henry then realizes the different outcomes is due to action, not beliefs or what they said with their mouth:

Their conduct was very different. One of the sons did better than he said, proved better than he promised. His answer was bad, but his actions were good.

Henry then makes a very brave statement at odds with belief-alone doctrine, and properly draws out Jesus’ meaning:

Saying and doing are two things; and many there are that say, and do not; it is particularly charged upon the Pharisees, (Mat 23:3.) Many with their mouth show much love, but their heart goes another way. They had a good mind to be religious, but they met with something to be done, that was too hard, or something to be parted with, that was too dear, and so their purposes are to no purpose. Buds and blossoms are not fruit.

This is clearly Jesus’ meaning. One son does, and the other says he will but does not do it. The different outcomes are because of the difference in action — what Henry says is fruit (works). Henry then correctly sees Jesus is merely repeating the principle one finds in Ezekiel 18. Henry says:

God gives of the rule of his judgment (Eze 18:21-24), that if the sinner turn from his wickedness, he shall be pardoned; and if the righteous man turn from his righteousness, he shall be rejected. The tenour of the whole scripture gives us to understand that those are accepted as doing their Father’s will, who, wherein they have missed it, are sorry for it, and do better.

But doesn’t Jesus say more than the obedient merely do better and walk into the kingdom of heaven “before” the religious leaders who do not do God’s will? The implication of Jesus is that the disobedient will be left behind, never entering heaven. The publicans and harlots who have repented are promoted to heaven over the disobedient religious rulers who professed a willingness to obey but then are disobedient.

Unfortunately, in the final analysis, Henry in the next quote, like Robertson, will choose to say the publicans and harlots enter heaven before the religious leaders. The disobedient second son supposedly still enters, but as second class citizens. Thus, Henry says Jesus means to imply the disobedient religious leaders are saved. They supposedly are not as honored because they must enter in second place. Henry means Jesus intended us to know the son who said he would do his father’s will but does not do it is still saved. This is nonsense. But here is Henry saying this in the last analysis:

These proud priests, that set up for leaders, scorned to follow, though it were into the kingdom of heaven, especially to follow publicans; through the pride of their countenance, they would not seek after God, after Christ.

Thus, for Henry the most absurd reading of Jesus is acceptable. Why? Because it matches the Modern Gospel of Cheap Grace. We do not have to obey the will of the Father to be acceptable and enter the kingdom. We supposedly can be the disobedient son, and still be saved. We just walk in last, behind the obedient. The Cheap Grace Gospel wants us to believe Jesus intends to give relief to disobedient Christians from the pressure of obedience for salvation! It is amazing what nonsense people can convince themselves to believe!

Compare The Parable Of The Good Samaritan To The Parable Of The Two Sons

Introduction

There is really little doubt on Jesus’ point in the Parable of the The Two Sons. We need only look a little bit ahead at other messages of Jesus to see this.

Jesus will tell a lesson to explain how to obtain eternal life to a Torah-Scholar. (Luke 10:25 ff.) Jesus will explain the command to love your neighbor — one of the commands Jesus will say in the same context was a command to obey to have eternal life. (Luke 10:28.)

Jesus then gives him the Parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate the same principle we see in the Parable of the Two Sons. (Luke 10:30-37.)

The Samaritan — a member of a somewhat heretical sect (see page 122 of JWOS) — is equivalent to the first son in the Parable of the Two Sons. The Samaritan is a heretic everyone thinks is never going to do anything obedient to the Law. However, then the Samaritan does the right thing. By contrast, the religious ruler and Levite in the Samaritan parable are equivalent to the second son in the Parable of the Two Sons. They teach correctly obedience to the command to love thy neighbor. However, the religious ruler and Levite do the opposite of what they taught and professed.

Thus, we can see Jesus hinges the path to eternal life on obedience and not your profession alone. Only the Samaritan is obedient in the parable. The religious ruler and Levite are hence lost because they are disobedient to the command to love they neighbor (which Jesus is linking to ‘eternal life’ in context) despite a correct profession of faith in Yahweh. Consequently, there is an obvious parallel between the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Two Sons.

This clarifies the second son’s fate in the Parable of the Two Sons. For the second son clearly symbolizes the religious rulers who profess God’s word. The second son thus identically matches the disobedient religious ruler and Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Then since in the latter parable, Jesus is giving an exposition on how to have eternal life, and says the religious ruler and Levite are, in effect, lost from the right path to “eternal life,” then it follows the disobedient second son in the Parable of the Two Sons must likewise be lost. The disobedient second son, like the disobedient religious ruler and Levite, could not conceivably be entering heaven as a second class citizen, despite the claims of Robertson and Henry above to the contrary.

The Torah-Scholar’s Question Leading Into The Parable

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is an illustration designed to explain a command which Jesus says must be followed to obtain eternal life. Thus, we need to go back to the preceding context to know more about Jesus’ doctrine on salvation.

At one point, Jesus is asked by a Torah-scholar a very good question. How does one have “eternal life”? Jesus asks this scholar what does he think. The scholar says ‘obey the commandments,’ and rattles off the Two Great Commandments (i.e., love God with your whole heart and love thy neighbor). Jesus say the man has answered correctly, and says if you do these commandments from the Law upon which the whole Law hangs you will live, i.e., have eternal life. (Luke 10:28.)

To this the Torah-scholar asks, ‘who is my neighbor?’

The Parable Of The Good Samaritan & The Sinful Levite

Jesus is now going to answer how one obeys the command to love they neighbor versus how one violates the command. Upon proper obedience to it, Jesus just said hinges ‘eternal life.’ Thus, it is highly important to extract Jesus’ meaning in the Parable of the Good Samaritan that follows.

Jesus explains the principle of ‘love thy neighbor’ in such a way that the Samaritan — a member of a sect in Judaism regarded as doctrinal heretics by the Jewish leaders — was the obedient one (and hence saved), while the Levite and the religious ruler — the ones who accept and teach God’s commands weekly — pass by an injured man and do nothing. The religious ruler and Levite are disobedient to God’s law, leaving a man near death to die. The religious ruler and Levite are, in effect, attempted murderers by neglecting the man in such peril. The religious ruler and Levite are not on the path to eternal life — the issue at stake in what Jesus is explaining. (Luke 10:30-37.)

Thus, the Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that obedience is not in what you believe and teach (whether good or somewhat heretical), but in what you actually do that is consistent with the Law of God. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the religious leaders who were known for teaching “love thy neighbor” do not actually do so when the opportunity arose. But the Samaritan, who was supposed to be a doctrinal heretic, obeys the law and loves his neighbor. This message is precisely identical to the Parable of the Two Sons.

As a result, the Parable of the Good Samaritan resolves the issue of whether the Parable of the Two Sons implies the disobedient are saved, as the proponents of the Modern Gospel of Cheap Grace (Robertson, Henry) insist must be true. The Parable of the Good Samaritan proves the disobedient religious leaders in the Parable of Two Sons are lost.

For Jesus in the Parable of the Good Samaritan gives the key why the publicans and harlots in the Parable of Two Sons are entering heaven. In context, Jesus tells the Torah-scholar that he was correct that one of the two key commands to obey to enter eternal life was ‘love thy neighbor as yourself.’ Jesus’ point in the Parable of the Good Samaritan which follows is that the one who takes care of his neighbor, and obeys the commandment to ‘love they neighbor as thyself’ will ‘enter life.’ The Samaritan corresponds to the publicans and harlots in the Parable of the Two Sons: people regarded as lost by the religious leaders. Yet, the religious rulers who profess the Law and accept its words do not obey what they teach, and due to their disobedience to the Law, they will not ‘enter life.’ The Samaritan and the publicans and harlots will be promoted over them into heaven.

As a result, because the Parable of the Good Samaritan parallels the Parable of the Two Sons, we know in the latter parable the disobedient son is in the analogous position of the religious ruler and Levite who both pass by the injured man on the road in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Then because Jesus’ meaning in the Parable of the Good Samaritan is that to enter life you must obey what you teach about being a good neighbor, we know that the disobedient son does not enter life. The disobedient son’s failure to obey this command in the Parable of the Good Samaritan makes the religious ruler and Levite both guilty of damning sin. Yet, a sinner who obeys the Law toward his neighbor enters life. The religious rulers who profess obedience but do not act in accord do not enter life. Thus, it follows logically that in the Parable of the Two Sons, the disobedient son too does not enter life. The Cheap Grace Gospel is wrong when its defenders, like Robertson and Henry, insist the disobedient son is still saved. That could not possibly be Jesus’ point.

Obedience to your profession is crucial. Sincere words of belief mean nothing if not followed up by consistent action with your belief. Who says so? Jesus.

Now we can understand Kierkegaard’s frustration over the incessant glosses to erase Jesus’ points. Here is how he expressed this in 1855 from a Lutheran experience:

And in this my opinion is the falsification of which official Christianity is guilty: it does not frankly and unreservedly make known the Christian requirement [of costs to salvation]—perhaps because it is afraid people would shudder to see at what a distance from it we are living, without being able to claim that in the remotest way our life might be called an effort in the direction of fulfilling the requirement. (Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Attack, supra, at 38.)

 

TThe Samaritans: Who Were They?

Jesus was accused of being a Samaritan (Jn. 8:48). This was a way of saying He was a heretic. “The Samaritans were followers of a corrupt form of Judaism [and the] Jews regarded them as heretics.” (Richard R. Losch, The Uttermost Parts of the Earth: A Guide To Places In The Bible (Eerdmans: 2005) at 209.) Samaritans were a sect within Judaism in the northern part of Israel. Where they lived came to be known later as Samaria. The name “Samaritan” means “keepers of the Law.” They claimed to be the true repository of the authentic Mosaic Law. They had their own schismatic temple in the North. The Samaritan sect also had a strong belief in a coming Messiah. Interestingly, they taught a Millennium would follow, and then conclude in one grand final conflict between God and the forces of evil. Then comes resurrection and judgment. They taught those who did good pass to the Garden of Eden (on earth) and those who did bad go to the Fire. (James Allan Montgomery, The Samaritans, the Earliest Jewish Sect: Their History, Theology and Literature (J.C. Winston: 1907) at 246,248-50.)