ACCOUNT  5'?m3f Salvation: works vs grace through faith

MARY -- (enters with Boss) Listen, Boss, I don't want to take
any more company time talking about religion.

BOSS -- (guides Mary to podium) Consider it a business lesson.

MARY -- A business lesson? What does business have to do with

BOSS -- You'll see. Here we are.

MARY -- This is the bookkeeping department. What does
bookkeeping have to do with salvation?

BOSS -- (points to opposite exit) Here comes my bookkeeper. She
will answer your question about salvation.

BARB -- (enters opposite slowly, leafing through computer

MARY -- I didn't ask a question. I merely said that faith
without works is dead. How is a bookkeeper going to add anything
to a conversation about salvation?

BOSS -- Our bookkeeper is not only a wiz with numbers, she's
also an expert on Greek and Hebrew.

MARY -- You're not making any sense.

BARB -- Good morning, chief.

BOSS -- You got a minute?

BARB -- Sure, what's up?

BOSS -- Our friend here seems to think that faith alone is not
enough to get a person into Heaven.

BARB -- She needs a lesson in bookkeeping.

BOSS -- That's what I said.

MARY -- Is this whole company going nuts?

BOSS -- Tell her what you told me.

BARB -- The language of salvation was written in bookkeeping

MARY -- You're crazy.

BARB -- Sorry to disappoint you. But I'm quite sane. In the
Hebrew language that described Abraham's salvation in the Book
of Genesis, Moses used a bookkeeping term.

MARY -- He did?

BARB -- Yes.

MARY -- I'll bet I know what it says. I'll bet it says that
Abraham PURCHASED his salvation. Or was salvation SOLD to him
from God for good works?

BARB -- Sorry to disappoint you but the language suggests
neither a sale nor a purchase, but a transfer of assets.

MARY -- A transfer of assets?!

BOSS -- You better tell our non-technical friend what that

BARB -- It means that no goods or services were rendered in the
transaction. The Bible says that when Abraham believed God,
righteousness was transferred to his account.

MARY -- Awe, come on! Are you saying that Abraham didn't have to
DO ANYTHING to get righteousness?

BARB -- Not according to the bookkeeping language of the

BOSS -- It's like going into your bank and finding out that the
bank president transferred money to your account without a
deposit slip.

MARY -- That's unbelieveable!

BOSS -- Tell her about the transfer of assets that Jesus made on
the cross.

MARY -- Awe, come on! I may not know my Old Testament, but I
know that Jesus never said anything about bookkeeping on the

BARB -- No. But he did use a bookkeeping term.

MARY -- What bookkeeping term?

BARB -- Just before he died, Jesus said, "Tetelestai", which
is the exact wording bookkeepers used to mark an invoice as
"Paid in full".

BOSS -- In other words, the creator of the universe, who
credited Abraham's account with righteousness now also does a
transfer of assets into the accounts of everyone who believes.

BARB -- "Paid in Full". That's the language he used.

MARY -- That's amazing!

BOSS -- Isn't it though?!

MARY -- Then what about works? If it's just a transfer, what do
the works pay for?

BOSS -- They don't PAY FOR anything. Think about it. If I
suddenly transferred a couple of thousand dollars to your pay
envelope on pay day for no reason, wouldn't you feel a little

BARB -- Or at least a little obligation?

MARY -- Yes. Yes, I suppose I would. So what?

BOSS -- The point is that your gratitude or sense of
obligation would cause you to act differently. Wouldn't it?

MARY -- Sure, I suppose.

BOSS -- But any works you decided to do out of gratitude would
come AFTER the transfer, not BEFORE. Any works you did would be
the RESULT of the transfer, not the CAUSE of it.

MARY -- Oh, I see. But what about when James says, "Faith
without works is dead?"

BARB -- James addressed his letter to people who called
themselves believers. That means they had already received the
transfer of assets from Jesus.

BOSS -- That's right. James referred to his readers as BROTHERS.
He's saying that the lack of works indicates a lack of gratitude
or obligation.

BARB -- The point of his letter was to suggest that if a person
has no sense of gratitude or obligation, perhaps he didn't
receive the transfer of assets after all. Perhaps he should
reexamine the depth of his belief.

BOSS -- No belief, no transfer.

MARY -- Oh, I guess I've got the tail wagging the dog.

BARB -- (turns, exits paging through printout) That's what
happens when you don't know about bookkeeping language.

BOSS -- (turns to exit) So, do you still think you can buy your
salvation with works?

MARY -- (follows) No, of course not. But tell me more about all
this money your going to transfer to my pay envelope.

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