The Protestant Reformation centuries ago rightly re-focused the Church from salvation by works to salvation by grace alone. But today an imbalanced view of “grace” vs. obedient good works has resulted in the scourge known as socialism.
An extreme view of grace tells us that salvation is “free” from a loving God and totally apart from obedience to His holy commands. There’s no need to persevere and hold firm until the end. A simply “sinner’s prayer” does the trick. God loves us unconditionally apart from what we do or don’t do. No work is involved. It’s all FREE. This kind of thinking has now evolved into socialism. Recall that the father of socialism Karl Marx was a German living in “Christian” Germany after Martin Luther’s Reformation there which restored the importance of grace to the Church.
Scripture, however, tells us that faith without works of obedience is absolutely dead. Not only that “if anyone does not work, he shall not eat.” Everything is in fact NOT free. Moreover, our eternal reward in heaven does in fact depend on what we accomplish for the Lord here on earth. In Scripture we do see the basis for “meritocracy”—a system held up by conservatives in America. In this life you deserve to get what you work for.
But “merit” has been given short shrift by not a few leaders in the western Church—those who have been trained to focus on “grace” in an unbalanced way. The thinking everything should be free (including of course freedom) has seeped into the American consciousness. Because of this imbalance it is not surprising that socialism is now raising its ugly head in America.
And it’s supposedly done in the name of compassion—but a compassion not seen in Scripture—and not from God. For many, it is no more than a play for political power. It’s a desire for government to take the place of God.
Interestingly, with few exceptions, socialism today is not seen in countries where Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism are the primary belief systems. It is rather in so-called “Christian” nations in the West where it has become popular.