Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Prostitutes, Heaven, Faith and Works

Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. (Matt 21:31-32)
The "them" that Jesus was speaking to were the "chief priests and the elders of the people" in the temple in Jerusalem.  They were the holy people.  The set-apart of the set-apart.  And while it's true that some of them were corrupt, these priests and elders may very well have been as squeaky clean as they come.  And Jesus is telling them that women who sell their bodies enter the kingdom of God before them!

Why is that?  Is it that God loves it when women prostitute themselves?  Is He happier when people commit harlotry than He is when His own chosen (holy, set-apart) priests and elders do their holy, set-apart jobs?  Of course not.  So what's the deal?

The deal is that entering the kingdom of God isn't about the things that a person does.  It's not about a person's good and righteous deeds, or lack thereof.  Rather, it's about a person's belief (or lack thereof).
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.  But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (Rom 4:4-5)
But isn't faith without works dead?  James is the one who said that, and he gave two examples of what he meant.  The first example was Abraham offering his son Isaac on the altar.  Here's the second example:
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? (James 2:25)
What were Rahab's "works"?  Was it that she turned around and changed her behavior and gave up harlotry and started following God's law?  Now, of course it would be a great thing for Rahab to turn around and change her behavior and quit harlotry.  But that's not her "works" by which she was "justified."  (The word "justified" in this case doesn't mean "made righteous," but rather "shown to be righteous.")  Rahab's "works" were that she hid spies and lied to those who came to her house to find them!

Her "works" were the result of what she believed.  What did she believe and why did she believe it?  She told the spies that her people had heard of, and feared, the great works of the Lord, and that He was giving their land to Israel.  She told them, "the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." (Joshua 2:11).  She believed God.  That's why she did what she did.  It's not that she was made righteous by what she did, but rather what she did showed that she believed, and that's why she was credited with being righteous.

That's why harlots can enter into the kingdom of God before God's chief priests and elders.  It's not about what any of these people do or don't do.  It's about what they believe


  1. Homerun....grand slam word...pulls down one of Satan's most relished foolish arguments. 2 corinthians 10.4-6....foolish arguments in the church always points to our works. many times growing up in bible studies with others has this foolish word been spoken. ".Ya. but you know that faith without works is dead.." and everybody gets slimed by agreement with the demon of law added to faith! Yuk....thanks for swinging for the fences thru Joel here Lord....bless him today. ...-john peter

  2. A man is more holy breaking a commandment whilie believing clinging to relying on and leaning of his whole human personality on God than a man who doesn't break the commandment yet God has not the man's heart...we aren't preaching sin here....we are pointing to motive...the key is found in whose spirit is of no guile....Psalms 32.1-2 says this very thing...God sees the motivation and quickenly responds.....the word holy means Christlike...period. Holy does not mean you obey under pressure better than the next person...Holiness is Christlikeness. ..not obeylikeness...Christ obeyed but it was much more than outward asceticism. was inward brokeness and contriteness...God isnt impressed with our perfect performances...they mean nothing to Him while our hearts enertain God owing us blessings after we obeyed when we couldve not obeyed...who has given to the Lord that He should repay the man or be in debt to the man??? God chose Grace so no man may approch Gid with this guile motive of vanity...the prodigal son's brother was this type of Christian...he wined to his Dad saying.."But Dad, I've always OBEYED you and my brother just waisted his life on loose living and prostitutes! And now You throw him a party???" Grace befuddles the control demom in walking with God...Grace humiliates the charismatic religous spirit....Grace is Jesus!

  3. I would ask you Joel to share even more on this that God has shown you about James. Rahab. And Abraham. ...Faith without works is dead etc.....This is just the tip of the iceburg, yet God can use it to sink the Devils Titanic! !! Please share more on this....and the Joshua 2......By the way, Rahab was David's and Jesus' Grandmother.....which puts John the Baptist as as her Great Nephew....johnpeter