Here's what I heard today at a church I visited in a nutshell. I've added my thoughts to the pastors statements in parenthesis: You cannot work your way to heaven. (Yep, that's right.) There isn't a list of things you can do to earn salvation. (Uh huh! That's true!) You have to believe the Gospel and trust the righteousness of Christ. (Yes! Keep it comin'!) You have to live the Gospel. (Ok, where is this going?) What does your life look like? What changes can you make in your life to set you apart from the world so that it is evident that you believe in the Gospel? (Oh well, it started off good.)
If you aren't listening carefully, you'll miss it! He says, there isn't a list of things to earn salvation. Then he tells us we have to "live" the Gospel and asks if our lives look any different than the unsaved. Well, how do you do that without looking at a list of behaviors? This is a contradictory message. Instead of telling us to trust Christ for HIS VERY OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, he tells us to trust Christ and THEN strive to do different things in your life to look "set apart" from others. This is subtle but it's so profound! If Christ lives in you and you trust Him for every good work, you won't LOOK different you WILL BE DIFFERENT. You ARE changed. You don't need to do the changing. He HAS DONE it for you! Stop trying to be different and start trusting that you are different.