Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Chance to Die

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." Modern Christians seem to have forgotten that part of salvation. The message of the gospel that is most often given today is "Jesus died for you. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and confess it with your mouth, then you will be saved." If you read that statement and see nothing wrong with it, then re-read it until you figure it out. There is something missing that is key to being truly saved; that is repentance.

Repentance, in the religious form of the word, is a complete surrendering of your life into the hands of the Lord and a willingness to follow every task that He has commanded us to do; leaving your old life behind and starting over new with the Lord. If that is the case, why do we find so many proclaimed Christians to be making the same lifestyle choices (sex outside of marriage, stealing, cussing, etc.) they did before they came to "know Jesus?" The answer is as simple as, they never really knew Him to begin with. They heard a false gospel message. I say that because any gospel that does not tell the whole truth is not truth at all. Leaving repentance out of the gospel message of Jesus Christ is like leaving sugar out of a sugar cookie. You have to have every ingredient in order for the cookie to turn out correctly, just like you have to have every element of the gospel message communicated in order for people to rightly comprehend and respond to it.

Most of the time, the people who don't change are the ones who were told nothing about having to change the way they lived in order to glorify God. They were never properly encouraged to read the bible that tells us in what ways we need to alter our lives in order to satisfy God and bring Him the most honor. People are being told that they can keep living the way they do and that it glorifes God and they are still promised eternal life because they said they believed in God. But the bible says otherwise in Luke 9:23-26 "Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.." We are not to continue living lives that help us gain the whole world because we will ultimately forfeit our souls to it. If the gospel message that exempts repentance tells us not to change who we are, then it is going against what Jesus Himself told us to do, and that is to deny ourselves and follow Him. He who never got drunk or had sex, who never murdered someone or stole; that perfect, sinless Man, called us to follow Him. God did die for our sins and He does offer us eternal life, but we cannot obtain it unless we believe that He is real, confess that He is God, and most importantly, repent of our sinful lives. We must die to ourselves in order to live for Christ. Nothing can change the truth in that.

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