Right in the centre - Sorting through the rules


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

am moved to write about the fact that in five of my hospital stays over the last few years, I was very sick. Not to be overly dramatic, but left untreated in those five visits, I might not be here to write this column. I feel it’s important to share my thoughts on life and death. As always, you are free to agree or disagree.

There are things we have no choice in. We are born– no choice there for us. We die; some choose to end their life, but for the most part, we have a varying number of days. Some of us live only minutes, some a 100 years or more. What we do with our lives is somewhat under our control.

What we do have full control over is what happens after we die. There are a lot of jokes and songs about death and Heaven and Hell. Some are illustrative, some are frivolous, some ridiculous.

I am of the Christian faith and cling tightly to the Bible verse in John 3:16– “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (King James Version)

Many people, churches and faith organizations have tried to add to this simple statement. The additions or extra rules may be well intentioned, but if “getting to heaven” or “being saved” or “salvation” is attached to anything except John 3:16, it is an unnecessary add-on.

The rules and regulations of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths are rooted in the Ten Commandments, but they are not about salvation, they are rules for living. Very important rules, but not directly attached to salvation. Below, I have re-printed the Ten Commandments as worded in the King James Version of the Bible in Exodus 20.

“And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.12 Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

I just want re-state that the Ten Commandments are God’s pattern for living, but no matter how closely you adhere to them, they do not bring salvation. One of the commandments held over people was to go to church every Sunday. Well, the Sabbath isn’t Sunday, it’s Saturday, for one thing, and the word Sabbath means so much more than not working and attending a service that whole books have been written on that topic. Another of the commandments has been badly distorted over the centuries. Note verse 12 says “Honour thy father and thy mother”. It is often misquoted as “Obey your mother and father” and that is usually a good practice, but if a parent is leading a child into incest or crime, then obeying the parent is not a good thing. It is quite different to honour than to obey.

Once the 66 books of the Bible were mostly agreed upon, the faith organizations went to work and added thousands more rules outside of the Bible. Sorry, but a person doesn’t go to Hell for not attending a faith service, for not giving to their faith organization, for not obeying the priest, the rabbi, the minister, the pastor or the church board. Doing all those things nothing to do with entering into Heaven.

One needs to evaluate the “extra” rules and teachings, and should do so, but the only way to Heaven is by way of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (King James Version)

In regards to salvation, nothing else matters.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.