As I was reminded earlier this year as I read “One Way Love,” humans love to turn the truth of the gospel into a set of strict rules to live by instead. The Amish religion is just one example where man’s rules and regulations have usurped repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It is far from the only one.
Many books depicting Amish life, even in Christian bookstores, ignore this fact in favor of romantic notions that a “plainer” life is better or somehow holier. But as Irene and Ora Jay Eash’s book, “Plain Faith,” written with Trisha Goyer, shows it was a place of bondage to the idea that man can save himself if he can go do more good than bad.
The Eash’s say, “It took years for Irene and me to discover that living good was not how we could be confident of our place in heaven.”
They were raised in a system of works with no hope or assurance of salvation. They wrote that “growing up, Irene had the same feeling. She believed that all she could do to avoid hell was to behave as much as possible. It’s all she had to hang on to. Many people don’t realize that there is no true hope of salvation in most Amish churches. The concept that faith in Jesus is the only way is not taught.”
Sadly, reliance on man’s works for part or all of a person’s salvation is a hallmark of false religion and is heavy burden that lacks hope. The scripture passage I posted yesterday is a glorious reminder that Jesus did pay it all! His death on the cross was fully sufficient to pay for all of our sins. When we come to him in repentance and faith and accept what he has already accomplished, we’re not only forgiven (past, present and future) for all of our sins, but God views us as if we lived the perfect, sinless life Jesus lived. He sees Jesus’ righteousness instead of our sin.
The remedy of course is properly understand the truth God gave us in the Bible. It was reading the Bible, in English, for themselves that the Holy Spirit opened their eyes to the true gospel and brought them to an understanding of grace, rather than works. “Our Amish traditions were deeply ingrained, including the belief that it was by our works that we are saved. But as we read, we saw a little spark of grace. The Word of God came alive …” they wrote.
After God opened their eyes, they recognized the “bondage” the people they loved were living in and they tried to communicate the truth whenever possible. Ultimately, the Eash’s had to leave the Amish. They were silenced and then shunned. They wrote that leaving the Amish was more heartbreaking that losing two of their children many years earlier.
I highly recommend this book. It is story of how God can open blinded eyes and rescue people from deception. I was very encouraged by the Eash’s story and I hope you will be too.