Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Harder Than It Looks

We have fallen into a trap in our modern age; we actually believe that it is easy to enter into eternity with Jesus. This seems strange considering the number of warnings Jesus gave about making every effort to enter in. Me saying this might seem strange, being a guy who preaches salvation by grace not works, but it does not mean that works is not important.

Jesus stated that those who believe will be saved. That has never changed. But he also stated that we must love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength. This is what it means to believe. Father never wants to take second place in your heart but instead your heart must be consumed with him. Jesus also stated that his followers must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and live like he has lived. This is a must, not an "if you feel like it". So belief is more than a mental exercise, it is an all consuming thing.

We need to be careful to not allow the popular preaching and the easy teaching of this age to move us from the narrow way to the broad way. The easy going attitude in the Church is accommodating those who are Christian in name only, who are quite comfortable in living by the philosophies of this world. You cannot serve two masters, Jesus warned. You will love one and hate the other. For many Christians, if push came to shove, they would gladly drop Jesus and take up the world, since that is the thing with which they are most comfortable.

In the Bible we find an incident where the various leadership were trying to trap Jesus. When the Sadducees took a turn they tried to trap him concerning the Resurrection. They did not believe in the Resurrection. They had no idea they were talking to the Resurrection. In Jesus' correcting their outlook he said something most of us glaze over:

"People who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy to participate in that age, that is, in the age of the resurrection from the dead, won't marry nor will they be given in marriage." (Luke 20:34-35)

Did you catch it? "Those who are considered worthy to participate in that age." Considered worthy. What makes us worthy? We aren't worthy of anything from Yahweh, considering we have all fallen short of his glory. Yet, to those who believe according to Yahweh's grace, we are deemed to be worthy. But that belief is qualified by the rest of Jesus' teaching, that this belief must cost us everything that we were. Paul, the apostle, stated that he considered everything he was and achieved before he encountered Jesus to be lost, because it is only what he has done through Jesus that is of any eternal good.

Is that where we are in our belief? Has our belief in Jesus, our trust in him, replaced everything that we considered to have had any worth? Is our life, our thinking and our actions shaped by our relationship with Jesus Christ. Is our love for him far superior to our love for anyone or anything else? Are we completely sold out as a follower of Jesus, because that is what Jesus was referring to when he said "whoever believes will be saved". You may find it harder than it looks but take courage, Jesus said it would be hard.

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