Can we improve our chances on Judgment Day?

I’ve been learning about the tricks women play to shave off those crucial ounces for weighing-in at Weight Watchers – like don’t eat breakfast that morning, wear the lightest weight clothes you’ve got, no underwear, and use the scales at Weight Watchers that register the lowest weight.

It reminded me of the tricks people play when it comes to Fate Watchers. Fate Watchers is for all those who are worried about weighing in on Judgement Day, who fear that day because, they believe, that’s the moment their fate is decided forever – and what if they’ve fallen short of expectations? In other words, Fate Watchers is just like Weight Watchers: there’s a price to pay if you’re overweight, and especially if you’re heavy on sin. So Fate Watchers comes up with religions that supply people with all kinds of clever tricks to shave off the bad bits in their lives to improve their chances on Judgment Day.

The tricks are a waste of time, of course, because the Judge knows all, but we give it a try anyway, like the fellow in Matthew 7:22 who says, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Nice try, but the Lord’s having none of it. “I never knew you,” he replies. “Away from me, you evildoers.”

But surely miracles are good for a few points on the Fate scales, aren’t they? No, they’re not. But if miracles aren’t good enough, what about all the other tricks that religions tell us will improve our chances on Judgement Day, like obeying the ten commandments, praying five times a day, doing good deeds, or creating mega churches? But if casting out demons doesn’t cut the mustard with Jesus Christ, then what does casting out bad habits by self-discipline and willpower do for us? Isn’t there anything we do that counts at weigh-in time?

Yes, there is: faith, Colossians 1:23. But faith in what, though? Faith that we are “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” because we’ve been reconciled to God “by Christ’s physical body through death,” verse 22. At weigh-in time we come only with the cross, because God accepts our trust in that. That’s how our “alienation from God” and “being his enemies because of our evil behaviour,” verse 21, are dealt with. There’s nothing else needed.

At Fate Watchers, the sign over the door says, “No Tricks Needed,” because there’s no need to resort to all those tricks religions come up with to scrape us under the wire on Judgement Day. Imagine if weighing-in at Weight Watchers was so easy.

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