In my search for Jesus in the book of Genesis, I’ve reached Chapter 11 where the events on the plains of Shinar take place. The people attempt to work their own way to heaven by building this huge tower called the tower of 01 our worksbabel. You glean their intentions from their comments. They say “come, let us make bricks…” The again, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heaven” (Genesis 11:1-4). It’s let us, let us. We learned that all though Noah built an ark, he did it after God’s design and at God’s instruction. It was a response of Faith in God and trusting His word about the coming judgment and the provision for escape from that judgment. Although there is nothing wrong with building anything, cities or towers included, the intentions of the heart are what matter most to God.

Man is always devising his own ways of reaching heaven. It’s just our nature to want to earn or deserve a place in heaven. Unfortunately, even in the Christian Evangelical community there is much confusion about the true nature of the Gospel. A survey by the Barna Research Group suggests widespread confusion about the gospel – even among churchgoers who feel responsible to spread the gospel. Almost half of the respondents (46 percent) say they have a personal responsibility to explain their beliefs to others. Most of those “evangelizers” (81 percent) believe that the Bible is accurate in all its teachings and that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected (94 percent). But 48 percent of the evangelizers also believe that “if people are generally good, or do enough good things for others…they will earn places in heaven.”

When Jesus’ listeners observed his miraculous works on earth, they asked Him what they needed to do to do such things themselves. In John 6:29, He answered them saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” The question is shall we be saved, i.e. reach heaven, by faith or by works. R. A. Torrey puts this into several questions. He says righteousness is essential but, “Shall it be homemade, or shall it be of God and from above? Shall I go about to establish my own, or shall I subject myself to God’s? Shall salvation be of works, or by faith? Is Christ to be a Substitute for the sinner, or will the sinner be a substitute for the Saviour? Shall the altar smell of sacrifice, God appointed and God-provided, or will we prefer to deck it with flowers that wither and with fruits that shrivel, howsoever fair they seem at first? Is personal goodness, or is God’s grace, as revealed in Jesus Christ, to bring us to the world where all is well? The one is a ladder that we ourselves set up, and painfully ascend; the other is an elevator which God provides, into which, indeed, we pass by penitential faith, but with which the lifting power is God’s alone. Salvation by works is the choice of the Pharisee, salvation by Grace is the hope of the Publican.”