After watching the guys from Way of the Master, I have been thinking about how people consider their salvation and what will truly happen when we meet God. In the program they talk about how people do not really give the ten commandments much notice.
When members of the public are challenged, “Have you stolen? Have you looked with lust at someone? Have you lied?” people reply “Yeah but everyone does it!” Their response…”Did you know the bible says… liars will go to hell, there is no place for adulterers!” Virtually everyone will take on board their comments and some are even brought to tears!
This challenged me, I read “Ten” by J. John (admittedly a while ago!) and I thought I was doing okay as a christian, until I saw those guys! Their passion to save, challenge and love non-christians made me feel inadequate. I had to ask myself-
- Why do I not feel comfortable speaking to non-christians like that?
- If I use the “Ten Commandments” as God’s measuring stick for my behaviour, do I fall “short”?
I was then asked by someone else, “how can you guarantee that when God judges you, he doesn’t say “be gone! I never knew you!”?” For a while, it made me think “Am I being complacent?” “Am I living life, being selfish (conscious or unconsciously!)” “Is there any guarantee?” As God’s grace is not a “Get out of Hell free card“, what hope is there? I posed this question on Twitter to other youth workers, hoping to get a swift reply from someone, the only response I received was “the same way that if my dad gives me money to pay of debts and says he doesnt want me to pay him back. I learn to trust”
I wonder how many of us criticise, condemn and put loads of guilt on to people (conscious or unconsciously!) As Jesus said, “he without sign cast the first stone”, so what right do we have to tell people “you are going to rot in hell for being gay!” When lying, stealing, and not giving God the time & respect that he deserves, is as sinful and is all the same in God’s eyes! All of us are sinners!
I once admitted some of my faults as we are called to do in James 5:16, whilst speaking to a group of christians all older than myself, not one of them got up afterwards and responded! In fact the leader of the church (which I not surprisingly left soon after!) made me feel so condemned that I left for home that night thinking “I am the biggest sinner in the world!”
I am fully aware that there is a need for people to realise that they are in need of a saviour, some churches hardly ever mention it at all! But as 1 Timothy 4:12 says we need to be an example to other believers in our actions, in our faith, our love and in our purity! First thing is to make ourselves right with God and the next thing is to show God’s love by trying our best to be patient, kind, slow to anger, humble, not jealous, selfless, forgiving and persevering.
YES, we should use the ten commandments as our “measuring stick”, YES, we should strive to follow God! but…
NO, we should not allow ourselves to feel that we are forever condemned with no way out! Our sin is a stain on the pure white garment that god gave us when we were born. when we are baptised, the blood of christ washes over us makes us pure again as we say “Ok, that was the old me, now along with christ I am an heir to god’s kingdom, I am a child whom he loves dearly.”
Christ died so that whoever believes in him, would live with him forever! We should not take that privilege lightly as we do not deserve it but it has been freely given!