The airport staging area was crowded to capacity as the young man returned to his wife and casually commented as to his conclusion that the lady at the concession counter who sold him his soda certainly seemed to have had a “ chip on her shoulder. ” Suddenly, several activities stopped short, as multiple sets of eyes from the surrounding seats of the staging area turned to stare in stunned disbelief at this seemingly simple statement!
The couple from California just could not contemplate how the woman at the concession stand could, or even why she would, have had a California Highway Patrolman setting on her shoulder; and they actually got up and set out to go see such a strange phenomenon! After all, they knew a few… could it possibly be somebody they knew?
Seated nearby, the immaculately well-dressed and overstressed business executive who was also a computer expert wondered silently to himself just how much the “chip” on her shoulder was actually worth and exactly what kind of information it contained…
The thought of a salty snack suddenly made the nearby teenager turn off his computer game and turn his attention to his now-all-of-the-sudden hungry stomach, as he wondered why the woman would waste a perfectly good chip by putting it on her shoulder as opposed to into her stomach by eating it…? And… what kind was it anyway; salt and vinegar perhaps? Ah, his favorite!
The professional painter from Portland pondered the predicament as to whether or not the chip had perchance fallen onto her shoulder from above because the ceiling of her particular kiosk needed new paint perhaps…?
On the other hand, the high-stakes gambler from Georgia wondered if maybe he had dropped one of his lucky, winning, customized casino chips near the concession stand concourse and she had somehow picked it up and put it on her shoulder to display, just for luck. He thought about going to see, but then decided there was really no chance of it.
But the nearby farmer and his wife from Fargo were both obviously and evidently thoroughly disgusted, as they wondered just how and why a woman – and a woman serving food at that – could possibly get by, going through the day with one of “those” on her shoulder! And why on earth would anyone ever buy a drink from there as this young man obviously had?!? Inconceivable! They certainly wouldn’t!
Ten minutes passed. The California couple returned, determined not to believe anything else they overheard this young man ever say again, seeing as how they never did find the woman “piggy-backing” the policeman. The teenager went half-heartedly back to his computer game, grumbling stomach and all. The business executive quietly reviewed his computer files, all the while keeping an ear turned towards the young couple for more potential financial information on the infamous “chip.” Meanwhile, the painter passed the time pondering whether or not to go and explore the problem with his potential new client; the gambler decided to continue to roll the dice and just stay put; while the farmer and his wife still sat nearby with the undisguised look of disgruntled disgust on their faces.
And then suddenly, the startled stares started all over again (except for the now famished teenager who could wait no longer and made off after the young man) when the young woman softly asked her husband if he could go get her a bag of… “chips”…?
And we laugh. Because we know. We know and process the differences in the communicational context of these comments both immediately and automatically. We understand for example, the difference between a California Highway Patrolman (C.HI.P.), a computer chip, a potato chip, a paint chip, a poker chip and a “cow chip.” But do we always? You see, because of the many different kinds of “chips” we could talk about and the many different people’s varied perspectives on them – coupled of course with the young couple’s previously general terminology – there was a huge, but still simply-solvable situational solution! If the young man had but immediately specified that the concession lady he had purchased the soda from had had a psychological, or the stereotypical, temperamental and proverbial type “chip” on her shoulder, all would have been well… but he didn’t. The same could have been said later on if only his loving wife had but simply and immediately specified, “…a big bag of barbecued potato chips.” But she didn’t. Hence the confusion.
But ever so sadly and life and death seriously, the same can surely be said when it comes to salvation. For example, we often hear those of a particular man-made religious denomination and doctrine which seeks to deny the simple, scriptural, and straightforward eternal truth that baptism is an essential requirement in order to be saved (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Romans 6:1-5; Gal. 3:26-27; I Peter 3:21; and etc), scurrilously seek to sell us on the deception that baptism is a work and that the bible clearly says we are not saved by such works in places like Ephesians 2:8-9. Now, while they correctly quote these verses, they fail to understand – or at least fail to correctly inform us – that there are several different kinds of “works” discussed in general in the Scriptures, all of which must be discussed only in light of their own very specific context! In other words, the word “works” in the Scriptures is akin to the word “chips” in the airport! And we must be well-studied in order to truly separate them down and scripturally discuss and doctrinally dissect them (Acts 17:11; II Timothy 2:15).
There are for example, works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19); works of the Law of Moses (Galatians 2:15-16; and incidentally the type of works which Ephesians 2:8-9 is specifically addressing – see verse 15), and meritorious good works, all three of which can never atone or make up for the filthiness of our sins (Isaiah 64:6; And remember: even the good man Cornelius, as good as he was, still wasn’t “good enough,” and had to be immersed in the waters of the one, New Covenant, Christian baptism for the forgiveness of his sins – Acts 10).
And then, on the other hand, there are the God-commanded and required “good works” of faithful adherence and obedience to His word which God saved us specifically to perform! These would be equivalent to what our faithful forefathers in the faith are reported as having done in both Hebrews 11 and Acts 2:37-47, precisely because of their great faith in exactly what God said, which led to their exact and precise obedience to them… and for which they were greatly rewarded for so doing by none other than almighty God Himself! For a list of these sorts of “essential works” references, and of which we must maintain in order to please and be with God, please see: Matthew 5:16; Romans 2:5-10; Ephesians 2:10; I Timothy 2:9-10, 5:9-10, 6:17-19; Titus 1:16, and chapters 2 and 3 in their entirety, along with Hebrews 10:24-25; James 3:13; and I Peter 2:11-13 to name a few.
And finally, what I find most simply amazing of all, is that those who constantly and continually bring up texts such as Ephesians 2:8-9 completely out of their specific, intended, contextual addressing of the “works” of the Old Testament LAW OF MOSES, to somehow say that New Testament Christian baptism specifically for the forgiveness of one’s sins just exactly as the hand-picked apostles of our precious Lord and Savior such as Peter and Paul taught it, is somehow NOT essential before salvation can occur, defies the boundaries of even the most mature of imaginations!
They say that we’re saved by faith only. God says “not so” (See James 2:19-24). And in fact, while the baptism they seek to disclaim (with completely out-of-context verses on works not even associated with the same covenant as Christian baptism for the forgiveness of sins) is never recorded in the Scriptures as a “work” whatsoever, but is instead reported as an act of “faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12), it is actually the “faith” part of their “faith only – no works” equation, which the scriptures resolutely report to be one of the very “works” which God requires! Faith a work?!? Yes! (See John 6:28-29.)
And so, in conclusion, the bottom line is this. There’s some chips you’d never eat (such as computer or poker chips); some chips that could kill you if you did eat them (such as paint or cow chips); and some chips who might arrest more than your development if you were caught speeding in the state of California! Likewise, there are those works which, according to the bible, certainly will not save us, along with some that surely will. So let’s make sure we know exactly – from the biblical context and not the biased con–man – exactly which type of “work” we’re actually talking about when discussing them, shall we? After all, we don’t want to be an eternal and infernal “chip off the old block” of those deceived like Eve, do we (II Corinthians 11:3-4)?