Faith, not works

Shan-Tai prayer month, day 19

Buddhism is a religion of works – put very crudely, a Buddhist must do enough good to outweigh the wrong they have done and so be able to progress closer to nirvana. The good works can be giving alms, reciting prayers before a Buddha statue, becoming a monk, doing good to others, and so on.

Having this mindset of works and merit (karma) can cause confusion for Shan people when they encounter Christianity because on the surface, without an adequate understanding of the gospel, Christian ethics can appear to be another set of good works. Yet the true meaning of the Christian gospel is that we are saved totally by the grace of God through trusting in Jesus Christ, any good we do or become is an out-flowing of fruit from the spiritual transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Such a concept can be difficult for Buddhist people to grasp, yet extraordinarily freeing once they are able to see the truth.

Pray for:
  • God to reveal the concept of His grace to the Shan  (Hebrews 7:26–27, Romans 11:5–6).
  • The Shan to realize that no amount of merit can ever amount to salvation  (Ephesians 2:8–9).
  • The Shan to know the hope of salvation that is found only in Christ (Acts 4:12).
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