"Off the Deep End..." or "Barely Saved?"
While the vast majority of Scripture is comforting and encouraging to the Christian believer, there are those passages which are "disturbing," such as 1 Peter 4:18 "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" Although it is clear from the Bible that we are not saved by good works, this verse indicates that the saving relationship we need to have with Christ is not a decision that many will easily make. Jesus said, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." Luke 13:24.
I used to think, in my years before Christ, that those who made an open show or public declarations of their faith were "overboard" or "off the deep end." I knew where to draw the line! Certainly God did not require "fanaticism" of His people, or making an outward show of piety that would draw overt attention to one's self. Indeed, did not Jesus upbraid the Pharisees for their improper motives behind such displays?
I was, however, soon to find that I had been mistaken - and that the Bible was very clear about how difficult it can be... not intellectually - but motivationally - to get into and maintain a right relationship with God - and show the kind of zeal He is pleased with in our lives. It is simple to understand, yet a hard decision to make!
Zeal can be defined as "enthusiastic devotion; eager desire; or single-minded allegiance." Jesus, our Divine example, exemplified this zeal for us in His earthly life: "...it is written: "Zeal for Your house will consume Me." John 2:17. While it is true that zeal can be misguided or misplaced, in general it is an attitude that God encourages us to have for the good He wills us to do for Him and toward our fellow man. We are normally enthusiastic about what and whom we love - and God should be at the top of our list: "Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment." Matthew 22:37-38. How can we love God and not have Him be preeminent in our lives... in our thoughts, words and deeds?
The Apostles and early disciples came to display holy boldness in their public life: "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness... after they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." Acts 4:13-14, 29, 31. When their message was rejected they would move on, as Jesus had instructed them (Mark 6:11).
It is reported by the Barna Research Group, a Christian polling organization, that even though a majority of Americans say they believe in God and the Bible, many of those same respondents say they do not believe in clear Biblical doctrines: Jesus' Divinity, His virgin birth, His sinless life, Salvation in Jesus' Name only, and moral absolutes, among others. When Jesus warned His disciples, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." Luke 13:24, He meant what He said! Nothing on earth is more important than knowing Jesus Christ and being right with Him. It is the reason we were created (Revelation 4:11). Unfortunately, the majority of mankind will reject His love and forgiveness and will suffer the horrendous consequences.
When we were children and wanted to follow the crowd, often we would hear our parents say, "If everyone else is going to jump in the lake, are you going to?" The Bible teaches that most will end up in the "Lake of Fire." Are YOU going to? You certainly don't have to! If you will believe that Jesus is who He claims to be - God incarnate who came and lived a sinless life and died to redeem us from our sins, and if you admit your sin, repenting of it and not wanting to live in it any longer - receiving Christ into your heart and life by faith - then you will be an adopted son or daughter of God. You will be brought out of spiritual darkness and into His marvelous light. You will be among the blessed minority who - through a response of genuine faith - will benefit from His loving, selfless sacrifice on the cross to bring all who believe to paradise everlasting.
If you have not made that decision yet, do it TODAY! Another day in this life has not been promised us.
Believe, Admit, Repent, Receive JESUS CHRIST!
Hebrews 11:6 Romans 10:9 Acts 3:19 John 1:12
Don't Die Guilty!