I have had this discussion with many people when I am concerned with their eternal soul.
I have come across myriads of false-converts, claiming they are saved, secure in their decision to ‘make Jesus Lord‘.
I have spoken at length with these dear souls and try as I may, I cannot convince them of their eternal danger. They have made a decision and they have been convinced that they are safe without worry of anything in the afterlife.
The Bible is replete with evidence that man does not save himself (Romans 9, Romans 10, Hebrews 7…etc.), it is through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, and that faith a gift from God.
BUT…how many “Christians” believe that they had something to contribute to their own salvation? Man has nothing to contribute to salvation but their sin and rebellion as evidence against them.
It is only through the grace and mercy of God, we are saved and not consumed by His wrath.
These very same people, when asked how they were saved, will invariably say, “I did…I said…I made…”
Do you see it? It’s all about ‘I’, me…self. The whole foundation of modern Christianity today is to craft a sales pitch that is better than the church down the street, and hopefully the pastor can whip the congregation into enough of an emotional frenzy that they will make that decision in their church and not the other’s.
It’s got nothing to do with sin, repentance, God’s wrath or the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ and why He had to die in our place.
That would make potential members and/or givers uncomfortable and scare them away.
You see, church today has ceased to be a beacon in a dark world, shining the truth of the Gospel into the gutters and manure piles, and has instead become a store, with well-polished and highly educated pastors and leaders, selling their wares and goods to those who are seeking something more to finish off their already rich lives. Those who can’t afford the “interest rates” leave eventually, bitter and resentful. It’s just like an auto lot. You go there to see if you can afford a new car. You sit down with the salesman who’s only interest is to make a commission off of you. You talk over options, payments, interest and you reveal your credit and financial history, hoping you are good enough to drive away in a new car. Those who have something to contribute go away happy, those who have poor credit or not enough for a down payment, go away unhappy and disillusioned.
Sound familiar? Church has become a country club that only allows those who can give something to remain. Those who are poorly educated, financially destitute, or just plain ugly are unwelcome, ignored, and eventually pushed out.
Leonard Ravenhill said it well, “The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.”
Now, why are you a Christian? Why did you make that decision? To get something? To have a richer more fulfilled life? To add to your CV?
You see, the motives of most people are selfish, and a church that wants your money and the pews filled will naturally play to those selfish motives.
What if someone went to a car lot and the car salesman brow beat the person and scolded them for their selfishness and told them that they cannot afford such a luxury and they need to turn from their wickedness and start living right?
How many sales do you think they would make with that approach? This is my point. Because the church has found through the years, that honey attracts more flies than vinegar, that if they changed their approach, they could get more people through their doors, which always translates to more money. It’s the funnel principle. The more you funnel in, the more will stay. It’s common sense and makes good business sense. BUT…this is not how Jesus taught. Is it? He spoke of planting seeds. He spoke of fishing (with a net, not a hook). When you read about Jesus or any of the apostles preaching the Gospel, they did not relate to people or their problems. They did not table a sassy sales pitch. They used the Law (the Ten Commandments) and drive the person in fear and trembling to the cross.
If I were to guess, I would say at least 90% of church-goers are false-converts. Are you? Look back to your conversion. What happened? Were you drawn to repentance, remorse and fear through the Holy Spirit? Were you convinced in your very soul that you were on the very edge of destruction? Remember Christ’s words in Luke 12? Fear Him who has the power to cast both body and soul into hell. Is this what was told you? Were you told that you had a certain damnation hovering over you like a dark cloud (Romans 5, 1 Cor. 11…)?
Were you convinced that you are not good but wicked? Were you told that you can by no means save yourself?
If the mainstream church decided to preach biblical repentance again, three things would happen:
- The church would have to endure a multitude of lawsuits over emotional damages
- If that didn’t work, then there would be a mass exodus and as a result, the church
- Would have to close its doors.
Where will you spend eternity? Will you flash your resume around on Judgment Day, bragging about all your accomplishments? Or will you humbly present yourself to the King of Kings knowing that only through the finished work of Jesus Christ Himself, you will be accepted into glory?
Does the idea of you being rotten and sinful except through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ offend you? Then you are in trouble. If self hasn’t been put to death, then it still reigns supreme over your life.
Much to think about, isn’t it?