Christians aren’t saying it aloud. They aren’t even saying it in the privacy and secrecy of their own minds. They ARE shouting it with their behavior!
By avoiding the subject. Postponing. Putting it off. Excusing themselves with reasonable explanations (translation: rationalizations).
“Sometime next year. Life is too busy! I’ll have time later! In the future!”
Or they blame the messengers and ignore the message, rationalizing their own disregard of the content by demonstrating “offense” to the personality or approach of certain Christian Apologists.
Let’s find out! I know that if we push and prod ourselves long enough we’ll get an answer…
“Look, we are Christians! Salvation is a free gift! We aren’t supposed to work for it! We don’t have to work at it! The Bible says so! Apologetics is WORK, and it’s uncomfortable and it makes me feel as if I don’t know enough and that I’m not worthy of the free gift of Salvation!”
RIGHT! On all counts!
1: Salvation IS a free gift!
2: Apologetics IS work!
3: We DO feel guilty (Now we’re onto something! -misplaced, constructive guilt!)
4: We DON’T know enough! (This does not apply to Salvation!)
5: We AREN’T worthy of the free gift of Salvation! (Worthiness isn’t a prerequisite -good thing, because we all fall short! See point #1)
The need for clear thinking!
Here is a good example of the need for clear thinking and for being prepared to say something in advance of saying it!
Prepared or not we are ALWAYS placed into positions that force us to Give an Answer -even if it’s just to ourselves! Whenever we make ANY statement, we are wittingly or unwittingly Giving an Answer! Every time we open our mouths we are Giving an Answer! Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared?!
Effortlessness Salvation ≠ Effortless Behavior!
We often confuse the effortlessness of Salvation with the responsibilities that follow our Salvation! When our lives don’t change, when WE don’t change, we make the mistake of intertwining our feelings of guilt with Salvation itself!
The effortlessness of Salvation must be separated from our Christian responsibilities, just as guilt must be separated from Salvation!
Yes, Salvation is easy, but being a Christian is NOT! So when we are not behaving, acting and operating as God intended we are convicted by the Holy Spirit! This is good guilt! Constructive Guilt!
Do we have a license to run amuck in the world?
Have you noticed Christians often behave as if they think that since Salvation is effortless that means they can take it easy from that day forward “because we are forgiven”?
Do we have a license to run amuck in the world? Can we behave any way we want, thoughtlessly and carelessly without regard to personal character, accountability, integrity and self-control “because we are forgiven“?!
Or, should we hold ourselves to a higher standard?
The highest standard!
If I represent Christ, and all the Christians alive in the world today (not to mention those who came before us and those who will come after), shouldn’t I pay close attention to everything I say and do? Shouldn’t I put great effort and emphasis on remembering and keeping my promises, excelling in the workplace and refraining from saying one thing and doing another?
Shouldn’t I treat everyone with dignity and respect, hold my tongue and treat non-believers as equals instead of lesser creatures to be pitied, trampled or ignored?
It’s time to grow up!
Let me be blunt: if you are a flake, you are hurting ALL Christians on the planet and pushing non-Christians further away! It’s time to grow up!
Look, none of us is worthy of the free gift of Salvation! That’s why it’s a gift! Did you earn it?! Could you earn it? CAN you earn it? All you can do is choose to accept it or reject it. But then, what’s next? And since God doesn’t take us up to Heaven the moment we choose Salvation, why are we still here on Earth? What do we do now? Go back to our previous lives? Change a little here and there in convenient, small, incremental, safe and comfortable ways as WE see fit?
Salvation is easy; being a Christian is hard!
What is our purpose after Salvation? How should we live? How should we behave?
The answer is in scripture. The Bible! The same place we find the message of Salvation! It’s easy to acknowledge and cling to the message of Salvation but ignore the message of action!
Why do we ignore it? Because Salvation is easy and being a Christian is hard: It takes continuous self-discipline, effort, preparation and work!
So when Peter instructs us in 1 Peter 3:15 to “Always be prepared to Give an Answer to everyone who asks you [us] to Give a Reason for the hope that you [we] have”, it wasn’t meant to be effortless or easy, but it is rewarding, builds character and a solid foundation for our faith that will bring us closer to God.
We don’t have to earn God’s love, but we DO have to earn respect. In the process we learn to respect ourselves.
“His master replied,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“Christians are educated way beyond their level of obedience.”