The message of the Gospel is clear. We were dead in our sin. Jesus came, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, proclaimed who He was, ministered and served, commanded us to do what He said, was falsely accused and went willingly to the cross, died on that cross, was buried, rose on the third day, appeared to many, said that He would send the Spirit and ascended to the Father with the promise of His return.
For me, I can’t forget what He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus gave us clear water.
Men have muddied it.
As I try to read and understand God’s Word, especially the life and words of Jesus, I seem to find some answers while at the same time coming up with more questions. I have a feeling that’s how it should be. I want to “clear the water” but find myself struggling with human nature. Especially my own.
Assumptions can be dangerous. Assumptions can lead to complacency. Assumptions can be sin.
We assume that someone who is a regular attender of church services is a follower of Christ. We may know nothing about them, except that we see them, or sit next to them, on Sunday and/or Wednesday nights. We may have known them for years or for only a short time, but when they pass, we assume their eternity is with Jesus.
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
– John 7:37 &38 (NIV).
Maybe that’s a safe assumption, maybe not. I had someone recently share that a man they know, who has been a deacon in a church for 20 years, got saved. Yes, he was saved. Came to salvation in Christ after serving as a deacon in his church. Serving for 20 years. One Sunday he realized that even though he was active and serving in his church, he was lost. And he had the courage to go make his life right with God. Wow. What a testimony.
This week I heard about the father of a young man I know, from a previous church, whose father had died from cancer. While this young man was active in the church and the youth group especially, I only saw his father one time at church. I honestly don’t know what his spiritual situation was but I do know what was my first assumption or thought. I thought that this man was lost and would spend eternity apart from Jesus.
But the truth is I don’t know.
Someone is active in church, heaven is the next stop. Someone doesn’t go to church, on the highway to hell. Both could be right. Both could be wrong. Muddy water.
Is church attendance a requirement for salvation? I can’t find that God keeps an attendance log and when we miss too much, we get called to the office and our salvation is revoked. But at the same time, as a follower of Christ, shouldn’t we want to attend church for fellowship and gaining knowledge in His Word?
If someone is a deacon, or in another position in church, does that mean their salvation is secured? If someone is at church every time the lights are turned on, aren’t they saved?
In both of these examples, was their gospel “fruit” displayed in their lives? Were springs of water flowing from their lives? Is this spring flowing from my life? Do we care enough to notice? Are we so in fear of being called for judging that we don’t want to notice? Jesus gave us the proper way to judge, first ourselves then others. Are we so fearful that we would rather assume and deal with the consequences later? Are we just loving people to hell?
Am I stirring up the muddy water in an attempt to avoid responsibility?
Jesus said that those who drink the water He provides would never thirst again. His water is clear. Would we drink muddy water? Of course not, especially when the clear water of Christ is available. Yet, I keep kicking the puddle.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
– John 4:13 &14 (NIV).
I firmly believe that there will be no suffering or pain in heaven. I can’t help but wonder at some point, before those who are truly followers of Christ enter heaven, if they will have a moment of clarity in knowing who in their lives will spend eternity with Jesus and who will spend eternity in hell? Does that thought scare you? It does me. But what am I doing about it? What are we doing about it?
Stop kicking up the mud and run to the clear water of the cross!