Thursday, 19 November 2015

After you've got your converts you make them ... (1)

Twice as fit for hell!
As you are yourselves!

I often find the word of the Godspell song, 'Alas for you' resonating in my heart and head as I encounter people who teach error wrapped up as orthodoxy.

Is it any wonder that the Church of England is in such a state when you hear some of the tripe that is peddled as right thinking?

Is it any wonder that some friends who live in other denominations think that we (the Church of England) are a bunch of apostate losers?

When I was 'saved' - something I can put a date and time to - I remember the feeling of gratitude that accompanied the thought that Jesus had loved me so much that He became fully man (meaning put of being God and emptied Himself of all the God bits) and took my place as one sentenced to die and died in my place. I remember thinking that if Jesus died to allow me and God to have a relationship and to give me life where death had been the curse: That I would live this regained life as fully as I could.

But now I hear people teaching that everyone gets into heaven because Jesus died for them - and they are. BUT, like all heresy whilst starting from a true statement they then add some deviation from the true course so that those who hear their words end up some distance from the place they should be. Let me explain what and how of this issue in simple terms:

God sends His Son into the world - not to condemn people but to save them.
Nothing hard here. In fact it is surely quite welcome news! (Jn 3.16)

Jesus comes into the world and brings salvation. This restores a fallen creation with a consistent Creator and promises an end to the result of the separateness that 'sin' created between us and God (the result being 'death' by the way).
This is not a popular concept for some because they think that we mustn't use the naughty 'S' word and certainly must not tell people that they're doing  'sinful things' because (and this is what people tell me, I'm not making this up) - this is regarded as a value judgement on their life choices and actions and will not make Church, them or God popular! 

The problem is that what we should be dealing with is 'being right' and leading people into righteousness not popularity!

Now, Jesus has come and reconciled the created with the Creator and removed the result of 'sin' (death) and opened for us a new life (that's why the terms 'saved' and 'born again' have such merit). This is the reality for everyone, Jesus truly died for ALL (which last time I looked means all of whatever population you're thinking of). All you need to do is to accept that Jesus died for you (we call this 'belief") and that's the seal on the deal - it's done and dusted, all you need to do is live within that knowledge.
'But,' people say, 'I don't want to believe in Jesus. But I'll have the eternal life, thank you very much!'

The problem with this is that what we have is a situation much which reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in North London. There was a marketing fad between the soap powder manufacturers which saw customers being offered a free plastic flower (as a gift) if they bought a packet of washing powder. I remember an advert' which boldly proclaimed that there was one of these (naff) tulips or roses for 'everyone'. (the 'naff' is my assessment by the way - the companies offering them referred to them as if they were something of great value)

All you needed to do was take the time and energy to pop down to the corner shop or supermarket and buy a packet and then return back later with the box top to redeem your plastic flower. The flower was there for you (because there was 'one for everyone') but you only got one if you took the time to go and collect it. If you didn't want it, you didn't go back - and that was, as ever, your choice.

This is pretty much the same with salvation. Jesus dies upon the cross and by doing so ensures that reconciliation between us and God is made ours: All you need to do is to take a ticket from Him. But if you don't recognise Jesus (or don't want to) then of course you won't be saying 'Thank You' to Him or be taking a ticket because that's the choice you have made! If you acknowledge that this is the case then you will also, I am sure, acknowledge the fact that even those the gift has been made available to you, you have chosen not to claim it.

You don't even have to make two trips, for you can collect the ticket straight from the source and, being polite, say, 'Thank You,' at the same time. So what's stopping you?

You see, those who teach that EVERYONE is saved are totally correct, they've just forgotten who the source of this salvation and the ticket is. Sad really because once you've met Him and realised you were dead but now have been given back your life, you would I'm sure make a decision to live differently - something we are required to do if we are to maintain a newly restored life. This is what the 'born again' bit refers to - simple stuff, n rocket science or calculus required here. But let me make it even simpler:

Salvation is a free gift, but like being given an expensive sports car for free, salvation costs everything you have to keep it on the road. 

Not willing to pay that price? That's not a problem. After you you makes your choice and you decide who you want to please; God or yourself. Just make sure you know not to moan about how unfair things are when the final whistle blows.

Simple innit?


Timwiggs said...

Thanks Vic for your thoughts. It's becoming a popular discussion topic in some circles, and some close to home will disagree with you. I find a conflict with Romans 3 if all are already safe but just unaware. The gospel is of course about the journey, about the discipline and discovery in following, understanding and embracing that transforming of the mind through the enabling of God's Spirit. The "good news" is that we do not need to conform to the pattern of this world.
Keep sharing.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bloody excellent post

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thanks Tim and OK Anon, you can post that then :-)