All scripture is from the ESV translation unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I posted this status a couple days ago on Facebook and wanted to expound more on it.
“Professing Christian, Practical Atheist - someone who says Christ is the Lord of their lives but lives as if there is no God.”
I wanted to bring light to this reality. There are many who claim to be believers but are children of hell and it is messed up. It’s messed up that some people profess Christianity but live their life in rebellion to the calling of the Christian faith – which is a call to self denial, separation from the ways of the world, and a clinging to Christ as if he truly is your only hope. But I did not post to condemn them and, in turn, elevate myself because I claim to be a believer and the way I live my life testifies to that. I can’t elevate myself above these people because this used to be me.
I’ve been a professing Christian since 7th grade but there was nothing in my life that testified to the fact that I had a relationship with the Creator of the world. I went to church most Sundays and tried not to use the Lord’s name in vain but my God was my pleasure. Hedonism – the religion of America. I stopped going to church in December of 2007 until the following April when my friend invited me to their church and that night I had an encounter with God. I do not remember any of the songs played or the message that was preached but I remember realizing for the first time that there was something deeply wrong with me and that my pursuit of pleasure would never satisfy me; the only thing that could satisfy me was knowing God. He was real and was drawing me to himself.
I by no means stopped sinning then, but since then I have seen very strongly what the Bible calls “sanctification”, or growing in likeness to Christ, happen in my life. No longer am I a child of hell – I am a son of the one true King.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Christ Jesus is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” I also write this post to challenge you with the question of “is this me?” To those who profess faith in Christ, is there any evidence in your life that you are a child of God? Have you seen growth in your desire for the things of God and your hatred of sin? Answer this question humbly. If the answer is no, I exhort you to get on your knees and pray to God – “Do I even know you?” Then open up a bible (or go to biblegateway.com or just download the “youversion” app if you have a smart phone) and read Romans 1:18-3:23. Understand the depths of your wickedness and your inability to gain the approval of God. You need him. This is not me saying “I think your life would be better if you believed this” – I’m saying you have a rebel heart and you need curing from that or you will die and spend eternity in hell separated from a holy God. God sent his son Jesus to the earth and he lived a perfect life and died to pay the penalty that you deserved and then was resurrected to show that death had no hold on him. And now death has no hold on those who believe in him either. Apart from faith in Jesus you will never know or see God and I do not desire this for you. I write this to those of you who profess Christianity, that you might examine your lives to see if you’re living as if there is no God as I was. If so, take heart; He saved me in the midst of my hypocrisy and he can save you too.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
If there was one post of mine that I’d ever want you to read, it’d be this one. Please read it. I want to share with you an objective truth (not just “my opinion”) that is one of the major driving forces behind nearly everything I do, and it is this:
One day you are going to stand before God and face judgment, either when you die or when Jesus comes back (whichever happens first). After judgment you will either spend eternity in heaven or in a real place called hell. There’s no purgatory where you will pay some time for your sins then go to heaven. There’s also no time to change your mind about what you believe during your life once you’re standing before him (Hebrews 9:27). You need to decide during this lifetime what you will believe, and there is only one belief that leads to heaven, and it is this:
God is holy and perfect and he created us to be in a relationship with him. We can find happiness in many things in life, but lasting satisfaction only comes from a relationship with him. But here’s the thing about man which you surely know – we are messed up. There’s something wrong with us for we know the good we ought to do yet we frequently don’t do it. The bible calls this sin. Because we have sinned we are incapable of having a relationship with God and are deserving of eternal separation from him in hell. He would be completely just to send us there.
But do you remember what I said earlier? “He created us to be in a relationship with him”. He desires this. So what did God do? He said, “I will take the punishment they deserve so that they can experience this relationship and serve me.” God sent his Son in the flesh to live the perfect life and die for the sins of the world. John puts it so eloquently when he writes, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus lived the life that you couldn’t, died for you, and then was RESURRECTED FROM THE GRAVE showing that death had no dominion over him. Belief in this good news is the only way you can have eternal life.
The only way. You will not get into heaven by going to church every Sunday or even by being kind to every person that you meet. “But didn’t Jesus that the most important thing was to love your neighbor as yourself?” No, he said that was the second most important thing. The most important thing is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:36-39). If you love God you will love others (see 1 John 4:19). Salvation comes through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Please consider this truth. It changes everything.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.