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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is the Christian Life All or Nothing?

A rich, young man comes to Jesus and asks Him what it takes to obtain eternal life. Jesus gives the expected answer, "Keep the commandments."

"These have been kept since I was a boy!" is the excited reply.

Immediately, Jesus felt love for this young man. He told him then, "You do lack one thing. Go sell all you possess and give it to the poor. Then, come follow me." But the young man sadly walked away.

I suppose the young man could have said he had sold everything and come followed Jesus but he went away sad because he knew that he just couldn't pull the wool over Jesus' eyes.

Is eternal life contingent upon a complete commitment to Christ? Can people acknowledge Jesus as Lord without truly making Him Lord and still be His? Can the relationship with Jesus be so compartmentalized that a person can be fully devoted to Christ at church and still do whatever he wants everywhere else?

The scriptures are clear: we must be fully committed, acting under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

This is not about being perfect. It is about our commitment. Our commitment is to do what He says, be what He has called us to be and to confess each failure. The latter carries a guarantee that we shallb e cleansed from all unrighteousness so that we can do what He says and be what He has called us to be.

Let's say you have an employee who is expected to work forty hours per week. This employee consistently works thirty one hours each week. Would that employee's work ethic be accepted as satisfactory or would correction be in order? What would be the action of the employer if the employee continued to skip work like this? Would we expect a holy God to accept blatant refusal of being totally committed when we wouldn't expect an earthly employer to accept substandard performance?

Grace is the forgiveness that God gives His followers who seek to follow Him fully. That grace came at the price of the total commitment of Jesus Christ on the cross. It demands our own commitment even though there will be failures.

This is not about working for or earning salvation. There is nothing any of us could have done to earn salvation. It is truly unmerited. Our own good will never erase our bad. The price of sin had to be paid; the sacrificial death of Jesus. That is something that we realize with our commitment to Him. Our commitment does not pay the price of sin. Our commitment is the realization of His payment for our sins.

The most miserable existence is found in a believer who is living a partially committed life. There will always be doubt and conflict in his life. There will always be a sense of guilt and restlessness. He will be like a poor child who is only allowed to watch other children receive the good gifts of their parents. He will know they exist and may pretend to have them, yet also know that he is pretending.

One of the people I baptized this past Sunday said in her testimony, "For a very long time, I believed in God and Jesus and prayed allthe time but I don't think I was totally committed to living for Jesus. Then, it seems suddenly, God has jerked me up and said, 'You're going to church, you're going to commit yourself, you're going to follow me, you're going to learn my word, and I have a plan for you!' I went from trying to do everything in life on my own to wanting Jesus is every step. I went from not understanding God and Jesus and many other things to, 'I'm going to stop making excuses and I'm GOING to figure this out!' I went from never going to church, EVER, and never reading the Bible to going to every part of the church I can and I'm reading the Bible every chance I get. And I keep reading in the Bible over and over that if I believe, then I'm supposed to be baptized."

I believe she gets it. How many others have been sold a cheap gospel story which preaches that salvation is only "fire" insurance?

Mark 10:21 (NIV) 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."


Anthony Chia said...

Luke 14:27, the passage that Ps Prentis used in his preceding entry, said this: “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Everyone of us has to carry a cross, our cross, and follow Jesus. Jesus did NOT demand that we carry His cross, we are NOT fit and it is too heavy; but everyone has a cross to carry, our own cross to carry. In the case of the rich young man, his cross was the giving up of all his material possessions, and he refused it. Both the passages, Luke 14:26-27 and that of the rich young man, tells us that Jesus was indicating to us that it is NOT merely we just go and follow Him. Jesus, as Son of God, before He became a man, followed God the Father, and that following was the same kind of following; it was a following carrying a cross – the cross of giving up His deity and glory in Heaven. Jesus, as a man, followed God, and that following was with the anguish, with mistreatment and ill-treatment, pain, and even the cruel death of crucifixion. Likewise, we are to follow Jesus, carrying a cross. The Apostle Paul carried a cross following Jesus, the “thorn in the flesh”.

Yes, Jesus takes us as we are, but no master, including Jesus, takes in disciple, and does NOT ask for the person to conform to the ways of the master, sooner or later. A change is definitely required, something got to go; we cannot lug everything following Jesus. Very simply, those you cannot have, form your cross you are to carry. Wouldn’t that be a sacrifice? Yes, that would be, and that was why Jesus said we have to count the cost of following Him. It will no longer be sacrifice, when you have more fully realised the goodness of God, as you follow Him; that was what Apostle Paul had arrived at. When you have been through, and realised of the goodness of God, as much as Paul had, you can then say like he did, “It is no sacrifice, I consider it dung!” Meanwhile, yes, it is sacrifice; following Jesus must be with cost or sacrifice, but it is more than worth it.

What do you understand by the word, “follow”? People who argue on the word, “Finished” as uttered by the Lord, on the Cross, before His last breath, that everything is done, nothing, absolutely nothing is required of anyone, Jesus, God, or men, have no inkling of what “follow” means. Just that we have the record straight, very simply, Jesus was then just saying that everything that He was to do according to the will of God for Him, as a man, was finished; He had committed (to follow) and faithfully completed every assignment He was to accomplish for God. Come on, is Jesus now sleeping in Heaven!? No, right?!; He is still working in Heaven, doing something else, functioning as the Permanent High Priest before the Father God, interceding for us; What, everything done, absolutely nothing need to be done, EVER! Nothing for Jesus, for God and for men! Please, do NOT remove all the frames of reference when interpreting Scripture. Jesus is still doing things, God the Father is still doing things, the Holy Spirit is doing things, and we are to do things, NOT just bask in grace.

COntinue on next page...

Anthony Chia said...

Continue from preceding page.

Follow means a journey, means to travel with; it is NOT, say this, and it is done, or sign here, and it is done, or even do this, and it is done. It means you see what I do, you follow, or I tell you what to do, you do it. Jesus explained this, clearly in Scriptures, when He spoke of his own following Father God: “I do only what I see the Father does. My food {spiritual food}, is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His works”. Wake up, it is NOT we just say the Sinner’s Prayer, and it is finished, nothing for us to do, nothing for Jesus to do, and nothing for God to do. Another way of putting it: you want to do whatever you want or do nothing, just bask in grace; no can do! These teachings of following Jesus with no men’s part is oxymoron, and is too far off, as representation of God’s plan for men. When there is no “your part”, do you know what that is? That is no family; that is no body; that is captive enemy (enemy captured)! Captive enemy has no part, you just do as you are told, and it is only “I do to you, there is no “you do”!” When you are captive enemy, you just bask there, when I don’t tell you do something or do anything to you; and you are only preoccupied with “When can I do what I want, ha?” Are you captive enemy of God or are you adopted sons of God? Are you being saved into a family and are part of a body?

It is NOT like (like the above). You sign a covenant, called The New Covenant, and that is just the beginning. Why do people want to mislead others, and say, you just need to sign at the dotted line, and then you do NOT need to do anything, as if the covenant is blank piece of paper! It is like, “See it is blank, and so, you do NOT need to do a single thing!”; or are you also thinking, “Since it is blank, I can write in whatever I want-lah!”

Look you can contract with anybody as he/she is, but you sure do NOT condone the other party to be taking you for granted, and treat the piece of contract as if it is all your part, nothing on his/her part! Why do you treat God that way! You expect commitment from the other party to perform the covenant or contract. Likewise, God expects commitment on our part for the Covenant we entered into. The other party to a contract, can he/she possibly fail in some aspects? Sure, and you may NOT, at the drop of a hat, sue the fellow for even the pants that he/she is wearing over every single non-performance, but you do expect him/her to honestly commit to the covenant or contract. God also knows you can fail sometimes, but it is your heart-condition that most critical: We have signed to follow Jesus totally, and so, we must honestly commit to that - follow Jesus totally; and if we fail in any way, what must we do? Ask for forgiveness and ask for grace, and continue on.

Yes, it is “TOTAL”; we are signing Jesus to be our Lord, NOT just Saviour. Can we make it? The right posture is NOT just bask in grace, or do whatever you like, or God has done everything or will do everything for you; it is we have committed and we have to try our honest best, and rest in the love and grace of God!

CSI said...

Dear man of God,Holy Greetings to you from India in Christ Our Lord.I am Pastor from India. Your Writings are Wonderful.I and we pray to God That HE may Bless you Richly and abundantly. I pray to God That HE may use you until the ends of the Earth in His Glorious Service.

If it is God's will, Please Pray for me and for Our Ministries.

If it is HIS will,If you have any Direction from God, Please send an E.mail.

In Christ Alone

Jen said...

thanks for the reminder!