Words of Encouragement

While on vacation last week, I read A Question of Honor which is a sad recent history of the nation of Poland.  Prior to World War II, Britain and France had signed a treaty with Poland in which they agreed to come to Poland’s aid if Germany invaded Poland.  World War II started when Germany did invade Poland and the Polish people, contrary to all the jokes about the ineptness of their response, fought with courage and effectiveness—they destroyed a sizable percentage of German tanks and aircraft. [1]  Britain’s response was to bear “witness to Poland’s suffering with all the windy rhetoric they could muster”.  The Polish government’s response to Britain was to make “clear that the words of encouragement, while appreciated, were useless”. [2]  What was needed was military action.

Why do we understand the utter uselessness of words in this case but still cling to the idea that a confession of faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation?  Words can be well intentioned, words can motivate us but without action those same words are meaningless.  Saying we believe in Jesus is a good first step but unless we actually follow Jesus’ teachings, that statement of belief is worthless.

Justin Martyr in his First Apology states:

And let those who are not found living as He taught be understood to be no Christians, even though they profess with the lip the precepts of Christ; for not those who make profession, but those who do the works, shall be saved, according to His word:  “Not everyone who saith to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”. [3]


[1]   Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud, A Question of Honor, New York:  Vintage Books, 2004, Kindle location 1166.

[2]   Olson and Cloud, Kindle location 1122-1132.

[3]   Justin Martyr, “The First Apology of Justin Martyr”, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, ed., Ante-Nicene Fathers, p. 168.

This entry was posted in Reasons. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *