These insights talk about whether a person can be a Christian without making Christ their Lord. They are longer than my normal insights because of emails and comments I received which I felt needed to be thoroughly addressed. In fact, I have included more passages of Scripture in my insights than in the original study.
Before reading these insights, I encourage you to do the Do We Underestimate Christ's Words Bible Study.
1. Do you think we soft sell Christianity?
We do if we present the Gospel without emphasizing sin and repentance.
We can't believe in the Person of Jesus--Who came to free us from the wages of sin--without understanding the terrible nature of sin and our culpability. As some have pointed out: If we don't know we're sick, we won't see our need for a doctor.
This truth is clearly explained in Scripture. A few passages below will quickly confirm this:
Mark 1:15: “The time has come,” [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Luke 13:5: "...unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Acts 2:38: "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"
2 Corinthians 7:10: "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
See also Saved from What?
And we should make it clear when we share Christ that salvation begins a process of renewal that will result in outward and inward changes in our lives. If nothing changes in our lives, we haven't met the Living God because we cannot know Him and stay the same.
Can we be poor disciples and still be saved?
I believe we can, but there is a fine line between a poor disciple and a person who thinks they are saved and is not. (See 1 Corinthians 3:10-23.)
I would not want to test that line, nor would I encourage anyone else to test it. In addition, a poor disciples is worse off here on earth and loses rewards in eternity. Christianity is not about how little we can do to be saved. It's about seeking God with our whole heart.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Paul gives reasons that he trusts that the Thessalonians have genuinely come to know Jesus. Obviously, knowing Jesus is something that causes noticeable changes in lives.
The passages below are good confirmations that anyone who seeks an easy faith may not know Jesus at all.
Matthew 7:21-23: “'Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"
"Lord, Lord" - using a name twice like this is a greeting of endearment and closeness, meaning that these people thought they were friends of the Lord.
Matthew 28: 18-20: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”
I see no provision in Christ's Great Commission for "making converts" or giving people a peace about living in disobedience to Christ's commands.
Hebrews 10:26: "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left..."
James 2:19-24: "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone."
2 John 1:9: "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son."
Sanctification is a process and the more readily we yield to that process, the more we will turn from sin and embrace God's commands. We cannot judge individual Christians as to their salvation, but we can warn them that true faith results in true change.
One side of the Lordship Salvation Debate contends that a person can chose to be saved but choose not to be a disciple. I don't see this separation made anywhere in Scripture, and I don't believe that someone can genuinely love Jesus but choose to make no effort to obey Him. That's not love or belief.
We can be godly without loving Jesus, but we cannot love Jesus without being godly.
2. Would you use Luke 14:28-33 when sharing Christ with someone?
To be honest, I have never shared these particular verses with someone when I was sharing Christ. I typically include the responsibilities of Christianity in the mentoring/discipling process. But maybe I'm wrong not to do it. It's something I need to think through.
3-5. Do you think you've personally counted the cost? What things have you given up to follow Christ? Are there things you're holding onto?
I believe I have counted the cost and given up things to follow Christ, but I know there are things I am still in the process of giving up. And some things I must give up are things I have not even recognized yet. I believe it is a life-long process of letting go of the world and clinging to Christ. Paul seems to say that in Philippians 3:12 where he says: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."
I'm not going to go through each verse included in the study this week because I added so many additional verses above. If you have any questions about anything not covered in these insights, please leave a question. And PLEASE leave your insights from the study. I love hearing from you, even if you disagree with me. Really!
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted