Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Salvation and Follow through

One of the problems we have winning the lost in our world is our concept of salvation. It is wrong! When I say that I know that it is provocative but we have concentrated so much on the legal aspects of salvation and so little on the relational aspects of salvation that we often twist our terminology into unbiblical meanings. For instance, we hear people say things like, "He is saved, he's just not living for the Lord!" Well this is to be interpreted "he walked an aisle, raised a hand, prayed a prayer once a while ago to get his rear out of hell but he doesn't love God enough to be a disciple and love God with follow through!" Well of course, who ever lead this friend in a prayer did him a great disservice by asking him if he wanted to go to hell (those who do are very few). And then by decieving him into thinking that getting your butt out of hell is a seperate decision from the one where you live for Christ.

Declaring Jesus as the Lord is not some theological abstract that needs intellectual assent- it is a personal declaration. I fear that many will be surprised at their lost-ness on the judgment day. They will say 'but the pastor said if I repeat that prayer then I was IN!' God help us to be intentional and determined to preach and teach salvation as the beginning of a lifestyle of following Jesus. Where we spend eternity was not nearly as important to the early disciples as whether we live for the new king- Jesus- in our daily lives! He demands right living in my relationships, in my fellowship, in my marriage, in my home, etc. Knowing and loving Jesus- studying his nature and character- changes me out of the relationship with him. That prayer, that walk down the aisle, that raised hand... was the beginning not the end.

Am I glad that I am going to live with Christ forever? SURE! But that is only a small fringe benefit of the Kingdom of God and salvation. To say that salvation is the culmination of a small and ill defined prayer that is devoid of any lifestyle affects- you gotta be kiddin'!

1 comment:

Roger G said...

Jesus said, Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. If you say your a Christian you should show aspects of that commitment in your life. I was at the mall and went to the restroom and it was packed. Some teenager made the comment that it stinks in here. I wanted to say to him were you expecting the smell of rose's? After all we are in a place where people are taking craps so it might smell like crap. If it looks like crap, smells like crap it may be crap. If we call ourselves Christians we should expect to see the actions of Christians. We should see change in a person. I also believe different people grow in different ways and under different circumstances. I have found in my own life that I need to concentrate on God working in my life and not concentrate on what others are doing. I see the church sometimes lacking a real sense of discipleship and not being a friend to people. We do programs and if people don't respond we get mad at the people. Could it be the programs we run aren't doing what they are supposed to do? Where I work they put together sales programs and always try to learn what works and what doesn't. Sometimes its the program that doesn't work and sometimes its the one selling the program. Either way we discuss how we can improve each program and try to reach our audience and help them fulfill their needs. If its not working it may be our program isn't very good. Sometimes there needs to be revison. I think we may try to do programs in the Church and if its not working we get mad instead of seeking a solution. It could be the approach of those in charge. I have heard sales people trying to sell a program by ramming it down a dealers throat and that destroys relatioships with that dealer and may limit any future programs getting anywhere. Could it be we're not building relationships? The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong. Should we always expect what we expect or should we just trust God that he is always working things out even when we can't see it. We see peoples lives and don't like what we see but Jesus demonstrated his love towards us while we were still in our sins. There is sometimes a fine line between salvation and sucker, between grace and judgement. Can I judge someone's salvation? Can I judge my own life? I know we need to daily think and make judgements on the world around us. I used to think no one ever did enough for God and this concept ticked me off for years. I now believe that God probably has things much more in control than I think and I can truly trust him and really need to just do my job and let God handle his. Do I need to judge things? Of course!! When in Nashville I walked in a circle as a big guy tried to get behind me during a conversation in a bad neighborhood with one hand hidden behind his back as he was trying to sell me stolen goods. Its not that I didn't trust him but I didn't trust him and knew he mean't no good for me. We need to make observations of things around us because we have to. We need to see people as they are and sometimes we have to stand back and say I am not in control and as humans don't need to be. This concept doesn't give us an excuse to just live anyway we want and let the chips land where they may. Without a vision we will perish. There is someone who is always in control and that is God. We are so finite but God is so infinite and no matter how much we learn and pray we will be finite. Just get a bad headache or see how we react when we're ill. When I don't feel good I am the biggest jerk. We are selfish and want whats best for us. I daily tell God what an idiot I am. Its not because I don't like myself but I daily realize how limited I am. I am now more determined than ever to live for God yet I know if it weren't for Gods wisdom and mercy I could never do it. I also know there is an enemy who constantly battles against us. Sometimes I feel that Christians may do the Devils work for him as we cut down our brethren. Instead of lifting up we tear down all in the name of God. I called someone who recently started coming to our church and at the end of our conversation he was thanking me repeatedly for the call. All I did was call someone and befriend them and I was amazed at what God did in a 10 minute conversation. He asked me to call anytime and I will. These are the things which make me see that our efforts are not in vain. Yes it is discouraging to see people not live for God but we don't need to do the devils work and steal, kill and destroy. And sometimes we do need to rebuke but to do it in love. Life is not always an exact science and what should work doesn't always work. Do we need wisdom? Yes. Sometimes I think people need friends to just talk to.