Spiritual Help

mark-headshot

I got an email from someone on the reMarks list. He said he used to be a Christian but it ‘sorta fell through’.   I wrote this for him but I thought you might have friends in the same situation, so I’m passing it on to you, too.   When you believe on Christ and it seems like it’s sorta fallen through – hold on. God isn’t finished yet. If you’re still breathing, God isn’t done with you.

Salvation is of God. After King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband trying to cover it up, he repented in Psalm 51. In that Psalm, he did not ask for his salvation to be restored. He asked for his fellowship to be restored. He said, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.”

Isn’t that the way sin is? ‘No Jesus … no joy. Know Jesus … know joy.’ (Please excuse that blatant cliché.) The only thing more miserable than someone who doesn’t know Jesus at all is someone who knows Jesus but isn’t trying to walk with Him.

This life is a picture of the life to come. Here we have streets, mansions, cities, gates (of pearl … I’d love to fry that oyster!), walls (of jasper … I’m not real sure what jasper is but, if it’s edible, let’s fry it!), chairs, dinner tables, food… Those things will also be in Heaven. We have fathers, brothers, sisters, mamas. In Heaven, we’ll have our Heavenly Father, our big brother Jesus, and the rest of the family of God. We’ll even have angels to clean up after the marriage supper.

Let me ask you a question. If you are a parent, is there anything your children could do that would make you stop loving them? Is there anything that could make you disown your child? If you’re a normal, loving parent (and haven’t made an appearance on The Ricki Lake Show), you would say, “NO!” Well, whoever gave you the idea that God would give up on you? Is your love for your children stronger than God’s love is for His? God IS Love. Do you actually think you could do anything to make Him stop loving you, or disown you? He promised that what He started in us, Hewill finish. His death will not be in vain.

He’s paid too much for you to give up on you now!

He may take you out to the woodshed and beat the tar out of you … I think the Bible calls it ‘chastisement’. The Bible does say He chastises all of His children. But the good thing about God, He never spanks us one lick too many. It’s always out of love and for our protection.

Are we saying salvation is a free gift but if you keep it, it’s up to you? The GVB sang a song, several years ago, called We Shall Wear A Robe And Crown. It’s a nice song. But it had a line in it that said, “When I get to Heaven, I’ll tell King Jesus how I made it over.” I told Bill I’m not singing that line. When I get to Heaven, I’m not gonna tell King Jesus how I made it over. He’s gonna tell me how He brought me over! I can’t make it to Heaven if He doesn’t bring me. I don’t know where Heaven is. The smartest minds on earth sent a toy car to Mars … How are we gonna find Heaven? He’s got to save us; He’s got to keep us saved; He’s got to take us home … or we’re not going.

We say we believe salvation is a free gift, unmerited favor – it can’t be earned to receive it. But, then, we act like we have to earn the right to keep it. You can’t earn it to get it, and you can’t be good enough to keep it.

Remember the Pharisees? They kept all the law (they thought). They were better than the ‘scum-of-the-earth normal people’ they had to deal with every day (they thought). But Jesus said, [my paraphrase here] “You boys haven’t read the fine print … You think if you commit adultery, you have sinned … I say ‘If you even think about it in your heart, you’ve committed it already’.”

In the Old Testament, they wanted ten per cent of your income. Jesus told the rich, young ruler to ‘sell it all, give it to the poor and follow Him’. Jesus didn’t destroy the law. He fulfilled it … because we can’t. We couldn’t back then and we still can’t today. If we could be good enough, there would’ve been no need for Calvary.

I have a friend who doesn’t believe in God. When I first met her, I told her that I wouldn’t believe in God either if I had enough faith. It takes a lot more faith to not believe in God than it does to believe in Him. To believe all this order in the universe evolved from some gaseous, cosmic-belch? I don’t think so. I have just enough faith to believe Someone bigger, wiser, smarter and more powerful than I put it all together. I told her with her kind of faith, if she ever did become a Christian, she would be able to throw mountains into the ocean right and left!

Believing on Christ is more than an experience to me. It’s a choice. You know, we Baptists don’t get many ‘signs and wonders’. (We allow the Holy Spirit to work as long as He fits in with the Sunday morning bulletin.) I’ve had enough ‘signs and wonders’ to get my attention. But let me tell you, I believe because I have chosen to believe! I’ll believe if I never see another sign or wonder.

I believe Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life (by making right choices for 33 years), drank the cup and became all my sin and, then, died on a cross to pay for all my sin. And three days later, He kicked the lid off that tomb to prove He knew what He was doing! And, to top it all off, He said He’d take my sin and I could have His righteousness … for FREE! I have believed because I know a good deal when I see one.

The bottom line is this: God wants a relationship with us. He wants to be our friend. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. And, if there’s a problem with the friendship, it’s us – not Him. We may not be spending enough time with Him; talking to Him; reading His letter to us … basically, just hanging with Him. How do you build a strong relationship with anyone if you don’t spend time with them?

So, my disheartened friend who wrote me, you may give up on God. But He hasn’t given up onyou! And if one of us has to give up, it’d be better you than Him. He made this promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Now either He meant it, or He’s a liar. And I’ve chosen to believe He meant it.

– Mark