Our compassionate, loving, and patient Father truly desires for everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). As Christians I fear that we often forget about how bountifully blessed we are as His adopted children. John Piper once said that as His creation we have literally zero rights/claims over God. He continued by reminding us that we are not only sinners, but we are also His creation making us doubly undeserving for the glorious salvation found in the Precious Gift of His Son, Jesus
Taking into account that God is completely self-sufficient, He not only didn’t have to create the world for us but He was also under absolutely no obligation to sacrifice His only Son to save us. Throughout the Story of Creation in Genesis, God generously granted Adam and Eve with the gift of freewill with the specific commandment that they are forbidden from eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This commandment was blatantly disobeyed. From this point onward sin entered the world (Romans 5:12) and God cursed the world by subjecting it to frustration (Romans 8:20).
Perhaps the biggest misconception that people have when it comes to Christianity revolves around the commonly-held western heresy known as: works-based salvation. I recently spoke to somebody concerning the Biblical means of becoming justified by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in the finished work of Christ Alone. Surprisingly, he had never heard of this foundational Christian doctrine. As I explained to him the impossibility of us ever working out our salvation to a perfect and righteous God, his eyes lit up as he began to process the beauty contained within this glorious Gospel Truth.
I feel extremely saddened as I consider all of the lost and hungry souls yearning for soul-contentment because I know that only Christ will ever be big enough to fill this void!
Over time I have been able to observe a large gap between the Church and the unchurched. Please don’t misinterpret this last statement. I am a huge advocate for the work the Church fulfills throughout its internal ministries. All that I am saying is that there needs to be a much greater emphasis on ministry outside the confines of the physical church building. Centrally we must always remember that we are all sinful and “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that our redemption was only made possible by God’s infinite and merciful grace. God’s grace is something that nobody deserves since it is utterly unmerited!
The only difference between Christians and non-believers is that Christians have been acquitted of their sins while non-believers have not. Christians are far from perfect, rather we are products of grace who have been saved (justification), are being saved (sanctification), and will be saved (glorification).
Like one of the teachings contained in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, even the saved(believers) themselves have never been deserving of God’s abundant provision of grace extended through salvation. In turn, this means that there is zero grounds for jealousy among believers, particularly related to issues connected to God’s sovereign timetable of extending salvation to His elect. In other words, long-term Christians must ensure that they do not succumb to the trap of self-righteousness(see this related article) by arrogantly feeling that they are somehow more deserving of God’s grace compared to new believers. As mature believers, we should intentionally partake in helping the Church to facilitate the process of disciple-making.
Heavenly Father, I pray that the barriers between the Church and the unchurched are able to be removed as this gap is bridged by Your agents of change. Father, please teach us to become more humble as we express our gratitude for Your beautiful and completely unmerited gift of salvation from Christ Jesus. Help us to always remember that we are all sinners and that without the blood shed on the Cross as atonement for our sins, we would all perish. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.