Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In this day and age

In this day and age, it is too easy to say "I am a Christian." The question that should always be haunting us should be "Am I really?"

Questioning your election is not an unhealthy exercise. Calvinist or not, the term 'elect' applies to every Christian. The Greek word for church, 'Eklektos1,' refers to the "called out ones," also known as the 'elect,' so whether or not you subscribe to the doctrine of election as defined in Calvinism, as a Christian (no matter what kind of Christian) you do believe that you are called out. The process of calling out is where some Christians disagree.

But we do have something to rely on. When we question whether we are Christian or not we know we can examine our fruit. "Do I exhibit Christian characteristics as promised by scripture?" I know that for years this did bug me because I did not. We do have security that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We also know that we cannot earn salvation, and although we should endeavor to be like Christ throughout our lives, we cannot be saved by our works. So when Satan or your conscience tells you "you do not deserve salvation," reply with "of course I do not, that is why Jesus had to come. If I were capable of saving myself in any way, Christ need not have died for my sin."

I read an article today [HERE]. A man was lead to his death. Just before leaving his fellow believers behind, he said "Overcome with faith." That man was executed for being Christian. His fellow brethren were beaten and treated like slaves. We get so caught up in doctrine disputes and such like, we act so much like the Israelites in the dessert. I wonder how I and many others would have acted in the same situation. Just look at what one of the captives said:

"I was beaten many times. They pointed a rifle and bayonet at me and tried to force me to convert."

They tried. But it sounds like they did not convert. If you can walk away from salvation, how do you know when you have? How did you know you were saved? What security is there in salvation? Is it "as long as I stand firm then God will save me?" Oh please let it not be so! How can you stand firm without Him?

Under persecution, I bet no one ever doubted that God would preserve their souls. Even on the emotional level, do you think people would think it possible to lose their salvation? Can you imagine counseling? The weakness of God against the mighty will of man? Oh man, where have you been? Is salvation such a commonality in your life that you would gladly accept that it is perishable? That you must maintain it?

I have often wondered how it was that, upon seeing the pillar of fire by night and following the pillar of cloud by day, the Israelites lost their faith (Not their 'salvation' just by the way - they are still out of the slavery of Egypt). How does one lose faith when faced with the glory of God? Yet here we are, with men who are prepared to teach that man can see the glory of God's grace in salvation, and choose to leave it behind. What is salvation to such men? It is like a pool. In the hot summer weather these men will gladly maintain it, but as soon as winter makes its marks on the land, they let it lie in waste.

Let me tell you what winter is in my analogy, just to be clear: winter is the period of spiritual blessing. When times are hot, when we really need it, we are in a state of mind that makes us realize the importance of our soul in eternity. Let us call these hot times a period of depravity. But under blessing, when we do not 'need' God or His salvation, we walk away? If salvation is not precious to you, then of course you will 'reserve' your right to walk away. Why bother being in an eternal commitment if life on earth is going to get better?

God came to give hope to those who have none. The totally depraved. Temporal blessings are a curse when God is not given the glory for them. He is so kind to us and yet we think that we have power over Him. Well, I think not. I know that when the end of days comes, when the final trumpet is sound, I will be with the group of people who declare that 'salvation belongs to our God.'

Anyway, I think that those South Koreans really had a bad time. Keep them in your prayers. Remember that God is there and it is His glory that we should seek. Be blessed in all you do.

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