Dialogue with a commenter


Like most bloggers, I check my blog stats from time to time.  It lets me see which posts work, which ones don't, and which ones get Google hits.  Apparently the search terms "Jesus was not a doormat" and "meekness does not mean weakness" are rather popular, which has made this post (and personal favorite) my top searched-for post.

I have been wanting to expand on that post because there is a ton more I could say, so it was only a matter of time before someone posted a question in the comments:

does meekness mean that we have to be gentle.........what if one is the kind of person that is not d quiet type..............do i have to be meek before i can make heaven.

These are all excellent questions.  Instead of answering in the comments like I normally would, I will go ahead and answer in a series of posts for the rest of the week.  This way, I can give a longer and (hopefully) more accurate answer, as well as open up the floor for any other readers who would like to chime in.

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation or list of Scriptural references, so again, any contribution to the discussion in the comments would be much appreciated.

The Breakdown

The comment basically asks three questions: 1) What is the difference between meekness and gentleness; 2) Does a person have to change their fundamental personality in order to fulfill the command to be meek or gentle; 3) Is meekness a requirement to go to heaven.

Today, I will start with Question 3 because I think it is the most important, and I will leave the other two for later.

Requirements for Salvation

While the subject of this question is meekness, this addresses a broader question.  What is required to go to heaven?  There are a lot of commands in the Bible.  On top of those commands, there are a lot of additional demands that seep in from the Church.  Where does one stop and the other begin?  Where does salvation come into place?

Acts 16:31 says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"

Romans 10:9 says "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

From these verses we learn that salvation involves a special sort of belief about Jesus and God that affects one's heart (believe in your heart), recognizes Christ's victory over sin and death (that Jesus was raised from the dead), and recognizes Jesus' Sovereignty over our own lives (calling him "Lord.")

To relate back to the question, those who are "saved" are the ones who go to heaven.

Now nowhere in these verses does it say that one must believe in Jesus AND be meek.  Or believe AND anything else.  (There is another verse dealing with baptism, but that would constitute a post of its own.)  With the exception of baptism, however, nowhere in the Bible does God give a requirement that says one must "believe AND" do anything else.

Jesus is sufficient in all things.  He saved us when we were sinners, and, yes, we will still have sin when we go to heaven.  This means that none of the "saved" are going to be kicked out of heaven for not being meek.

A Laissez-faire faith?

However, part of Salvation is recognizing Jesus' Sovereignty.  Furthermore, the point at or process through one is saved is when God's Spirit "enters" the life of the believer.  The new believer becomes a new creation- the old has gone, and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  For this reason, it is expected that the new creation will not live according to old habits- the believer has been saved by Christ and loves Christ, and those who love Christ are also those who obey His commands.  (Ephesians 4:21-24, John 14:21).  Furthermore, "faith without works is dead." (James 2:14).

Note the language: if someone is a believer, then he will exhibit these traits.  The believer is a new creation, puts aside the old state of sinning, puts on a new attitude that desires to please God, loves and obeys Christ, and exhibits a faith that also includes works.  These are signs of believers, not requirements for believers.

No one is perfect, but we are running the race set before us and striving for the prize that draws us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)  Being drawn heavenward means becoming closer to Christ, and part of this process is allowing the Spirit to work in our lives and exhibit signs of Christ-likeness.