Thoughts on the Way Home

Friday, May 30, 2008

Simple Saving Truth

I’ve been realizing over the last year or so how much Christians know that is of real value to the world. I attribute this to the word of God which makes the man of God (or woman or youth of God) adequate, equipped for every good work. The things in the word of God “make wise the simple” (that’s us). How appropriate it is to share your faith with others, since as a follower of Christ, God really has revealed precious truth to you. How many people are there surrounding you, who desperately need to know what you know? I’d say many. In fact, surely that’s a part of Jesus meaning when he says the fields are “white for harvest.”

Recent encounters have confirmed this.

One man I was able to talk with was trying to say that God’s mercy in forgiving sinners is unfair. His words were something like “You Christians say that a man can live their whole in sin and then at some point turn from their sins to God and say ‘God please forgive me’ and you actually believe he’ll do it!” He continued, “That’s wrong! That’s wrong! You gotta live better than that! You can just live a rotten life and then change in the end.” What the man needed to hear is that salvation must be apart from works. He was stumbling over that same old stumbling stone. Live right (or at least try to live pretty much right) and God will accept you. His example of a worthy life was Bill Gates donating to children with polio. But I think some of the youth in our church could have explained this to him how this method of works righteousness is an impossibility for anyone except Christ. For God’s standard is absolute sinlessness, perfect conformity to his law and character. The slightest sin gets men cast out of God’s sight. Our only hope is if God is the forgiving God that he says he is.

Another younger man was saying that in all of his truth seeking (and as a philosophy major he said had done a lot) what he found to be most important was not if or how one worships God, but how one treats their fellow man. What he needed to hear was that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart. His approach sets the second greatest commandment above the first. In fact he was neglecting the first commandment altogether. Jesus says, first love and worship God your creator, and then below that place your relationship to other men.

Then there was this older woman. She seemed to believe that the human race is basically full of good people, with a few small exceptions. Now why on earth would someone say a thing like that?! I mean, you would almost have to be ignorant of the entire history of the human race. Seriously. How many countries do you know of that don’t have some form of a military or police force? My guess is not that she never heard of and saw the sins of humanity, but that she was choosing not to acknowledge them, and that because she herself didn’t want to be judged. In fact she indicated that pretty plainly. “I don’t think people should judge each other.” Translation – “Please, young man, don’t come around telling me I’m sinful.” She desperately needed to hear that God has looked down from heaven upon the sins of many to see if there is anyone who does good, who seeks after God… and there is none good, no not one. Again, this is a simple truth. It’s just that it’s hard to swallow. We live in a sinful sinful world. When she did finally say that she knew of some sinful people, I said “I know a lot!” And then I tried to tell her what I was like when I was lost. You know how she wrote it off? She said, “Well, teenagers! Yeah, they go through that phase, but they’ll eventually come around.” I don’t think so. We are bad people and deserve hell just as much as the fallen angels.

I guess my point is that it doesn’t take an ivory tower theologian to have the answers people need. From my experience, it seems that the great majority of questions and thoughts that people are stuck on and stumbling over (usually unconsciously) have basic answers that just about every Christian knows from the beginning of their walk with the Lord. Amazingly, this is true even when talking with studied atheists and philosophy majors. No matter how much the path of conversation seems to wind amidst diverse spiritual matters, there is almost always one point along the way where a Christian really has something to say that the other person needs to hear. Therefore, even if you’re a new believer, don’t be afraid to share your faith. Share what the bible says. Especially if you can get around to sharing the things about salvation and the cross, because you know that they’re not going to hear that anywhere else. And pray that God would give the hearer understanding into simple (but spiritually discerned) truth.

If we are constantly thinking “I wish so and so were here,” as if we ourselves aren’t made adequate by the Holy Spirit and his sword, the word of God, then may God faithfully rebuke us and renew our thinking. God makes us all adequate. That promise was not true for the famous Timothy only, but was true for his mother and grandmother too. Remember?