Friday, September 14, 2007

"You Think it's Hot Here?" Part 2

Okay, so Part 1 was actually over on "A Stone's Throw" several weeks ago. David was writing about some quality marquee sayings that are seen in front of some of the friendliest churches around. I ran across another vintage saying while driving across Missouri last week.

"Almost Saved is Totally Lost"

Wow! It might as well say, "Come on in, you filthy heathens! You're welcome here!"

Why do we draw these lines in the sand? Somehow I think that this might be one of those cases that Jesus might be pointing out the 2x4 in our eye. Jesus always welcomed those that the religious establishment seemed to shun. It seems that most of the time that Jesus talked about judgement and condemnation, it was to the religious establishment. To the people searching for God, he talked about mercy and love. I'm always amazed at the sensitivity of Jesus to the needs of the people that came to Him. They came with their wants, He took care of their needs.

Once, a man with leprosy came to Jesus to be healed. I know that Jesus could have healed him with a word, a thought, a wave of the hand. But the Bible says that Jesus did more than just heal the man. The Bible says that He touched him. I wonder how long it had been since he had been touched by another human. He was an outcast. When walking among people, he would have announced loudly, "Unclean, unclean." Everyone would have moved far away from him. No one would even touch his clothes. What do you think that he was thinking the very moment that Jesus touched him? With a simple act of compassion, Jesus said, "You're not an outcast to me. You're not an outcast to God. You are a child of God. You are important to God."

I don't know why we get so puffed up about ourselves. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are no better than anybody else; that our righteousness in like filthy rags. If the only good thing that we have going for us is Jesus, how does that make us more important? It only makes Him more important!

Just so that my conservative, fundamental friends don't think that I've gone soft on what the Bible teaches, let me clarify a few things for you:

I believe that we will all be judged for our sins.

I believe that we will all be found guilty and fall short of God's standard.

I believe that the sentence for our shortcomings will be eternal death and separation from God.

I believe that Jesus has paid that price for us and (if we choose) in Him we have eternal Life.

I do not believe that it is my place (or the church's place) to help God judge mankind.

I do not believe that God wants or needs our help judging the nations.

I do believe that God wants for me (and you) to point others to Him; to demonstrate that He is a loving and forgiving God and that He can make a difference in your life today. If God was only a God for the dead; if eternal life was just what happens when this life ends; then it would be difficult to convince anybody that they need to know God today.

There is a statement in The Baptist Faith and Message that says eternal life doesn't begin when you die. It begins the moment that you trust Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. People that are searching for God, need to find God today. People that are content to go their own way, need to know that there are other options. We each choose; our way or His way. Our job is not to judge. Our job is simply to show the Way.


"I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Jesus of Nazareth

1 comment:

Random Magus said...

I think believing in God is a matter of faith. I don't remember a time in my life that I haven't believed in God - to me my belief is the single greatest source of solace so you may say that I believe in God for selfish reasons. But I just can't not. No matter how many questions I might ask about life I have never felt the need to question God's existence