Friday, October 20, 2006

Discernment and Salvation

There were some commenters in my post on assurance who are still unconvinced of the permanence of salvation. I wonder how many verses it would take to convince them.

Unfortunately, no matter how many verses I post or how many arguments I make, there are simply people who do not “get it”. Up until now I think I assumed that people who don’t “get it” had never read the Bible, but clearly there are people who know their Bible and yet still miss the boat on the basic Gospel message.

And these people come in all kinds of flavors. You will see the academic scholarly types on some Discovery Channel show who have a PhD in New Testament studies but clearly don’t understand the Gospel message. How do I know this? Because they always have some weird theory to downplay the facts of the Bible. Some way to explain away God.

We have the Jehovah’s Witnesses who pick and choose the parts of the Bible to believe based on what the Watchtower tells them. You have the Mormons who supersede the Bible with their own book, but do still consider the Bible as the Word of God when interpreted properly. And of course there are my favorite naysayers here, the Roman Catholics who add “tradition” to the authority of scripture and believe that only their magisterium (popes and bishops) are qualified to interpret the Bible.

All of these groups to different degrees nullify the Word of God. And when you deny the Word of God you are denying God himself. That is serious. I want all of my Protestant/bible-believing brethren to understand the seriousness of this.

Do not assume that because someone claims to be a follower of Christ, that they are a true follower of Christ. What?! Isn’t that judgmental? Where is the grace in that? Where is the love?

The love is in identifying the lost and telling them the Gospel. If you stick with just the obvious unbelievers, you are missing a huge part of the mission field. You are leaving what I believe are sincere people trying to find God to the bondage of false religion. I ask you, where is the love in that?

About a year ago when we were looking for a church we attended a Baptist church and filled out the standard visitor card with our information. A few weeks later our doorbell rang and a group from that church was at our door. We talked with them for awhile and told them about ourselves and from the conversation I would have thought it was clear we were Christians. At least we said we were.

However, right before they left they asked us what must be their standard parting question(s). If you died tonight, where would you go? How do you know that? At the time I thought it was a bit odd to ask us that since we had identified ourselves as Christians, but now I see the brilliance in it.

Every saved person should be able to answer those two questions. If the answers are wrong, then you need to be concerned for that person’s soul.

Anybody can call themselves a Christian, anybody can think they are a Christian, but there is only one way to actually be a Christian and let’s make sure that is clear. We are not doing anyone a favor by allowing them to be wrong on that one.

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