Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31 – No Shortcuts with God

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.  For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-12 NET)

For us to truly understand this wonderful promise about salvation, we have to understand the circumstances under which it was taught.  In the time of the Early Church, openly confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord meant being willing to die for Him.  Persecution was so harsh, that only a true believer would publicly admit this faith.  

The other requirement in this promise is to believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.  The word “believe” in English does not have the same impact as the Greek word used in the Bible.  Belief meant more than just agreeing mentally to a concept.  It meant a belief that compelled you to act, something that you knew for a fact was so true, that you lived your life in accordance to that belief. Again, this shocking confession that Jesus actually was God and rose again was enough to cause Christians to be thrown to the lions during the first century. 

Now look at the watered-down form of Christianity that has sprung up around us in the last 6 decades or so.  Confessing Jesus as your Lord is as common as burger joints and strip malls.  There is no penalty, no persecution for saying those words.  In fact the concept of what a “lord” is, is so far from our experience in the 21st century, that we don’t even know what it means to live in submission to a lord at all.  But because the phrase is in the Bible, people with a cheap faith can easily say the words and convince themselves that they are now “saved.”

Ask a roomful of average Americans how many believe in their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, and most likely more than half would agree to that statement.  But do they believe in the manner that the Bible means?  Do they base everything they do in their lives on that belief?  Would they be willing to die for Him?  Since so few are willing to even show up in church or submit to the leadership of a pastor, or even do the very basics such as paying tithes, fighting against sin and seeking to know God more, the answer for most would sadly be no.

Salvation comes at a cost.  It’s offered to us in grace, but we have to be willing to put our lives on the line for Him, otherwise we believe in a cheap grace.  Jesus paid such a high price for our souls and loved us even while we were such lost and ungrateful sinners.  Giving Him our all could never repay Him, but it is the only way to receive Him and the salvation He has to offer.  

We are promised eternity with Him, and He deserves all we have and all we are.  Let’s believe like the first century Christians, ready to live, breathe and die for our Lord and King in obedience and trust.  It’s not worth taking a short-cut when it comes to our eternity, because there are no short cuts with God. 

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