If it were not so sad it might be amusing that so many people think they have the right answer when they have never really considered the right question. Unless the right question is posed and answered little is gained.
I read Christian blogs, lots of them. There is considerable chatter across blogdom on the subject of what I’ll call the “technicalities of salvation” for want of a better term. On Church of Christ blogs there is much give and take about the role of water baptism. There are some who believe immersion in water is absolutely essential for salvation and there are others who do not go that far but still have a very high view of the act. There has been tons of bandwidth dedicated to this question, “Is baptism a work?” There are those obligatory standard questions about the role of obedience and how it comes into play when a person becomes a Christian.
Then there are those discussions about what you must do to stay saved. Must your church be a cappella? Can you allow female Christians to serve the Lord’s Supper to others and still be in God’s grace? These are very important and weighty questions for many, many people of the Stone-Campbell heritage. Nobody wants to be out of the Kingdom on a technicality!
Restoration folks are not alone in their probing and seeking the right answers to important questions. Many Southern Baptists are all in a tizzy because of the growing trend of Calvinism among their ranks. There are all sorts of warnings about the dangers of these people and what they believe and teach and frankly much of what they fear has no basis in fact. They range from saying they are not evangelistic to believing a person can be a Christian and live like the devil himself and all in between.
Other Christian groups are not exempt from the irresistible urge to know exactly the split second a sinner is saved. And they want to be sure about some monumental things.
- Is our church the true church?
- Am I good enough?
- Can I know for sure I’m in?
- What if I forgot to confess some of my sins?
- Does our church follow the right order of worship?
- Will my parents or my child be lost because they are in the wrong church?
- Can other people really be saved who aren’t like us?
All of these and others are questions serious people are grappling with and they really want to find the correct answer. After all, their eternity depends on it!
I think that rather than spending time debating works vs. faith, the efficacy of baptism, the mode of baptism, church differences, good works, Calvinism vs Free will, etc. etc. there is a more pressing question that is not being asked.
Is Jesus Christ sufficient? Is He enough?
In my view when you get this settled, most of the other stuff people debate about and divide over means little. Obviously you will answer Yes! That question might even seem silly to many people. But is it?
If the work and worth of Jesus fully satisfied both God’s holiness and His justice, and if He did it for me, then there is nothing more needed to appease a holy God who hates sin. God has done everything necessary to set men right with Himself. Now he offers life everlasting to those who will take him at His (faith) word and follow. It is a gift undeserved and unearned. This is called grace!
Every person who insists your must do this and do that, keep this ritual and say these words and attend this particular church are without knowing it answering the right question. And the answer is, Christ is not really enough. I need Him and what He has done but I also need this and …… Well maybe, just maybe, the good news (gospel) is much better news than you thought.
Christ is quite enough! You need no more than Him
“19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
(2 Corinthians 1:19-22 ESV)
I believe God only forgives our sins on the basis of Jesus and His death for our sins on the cross. And, I believe we are made righteous based on the flawless life of Jesus which was given for us.
God does not make ungodly sinners His own dear children based on what Christ has done and….anything. The exact reason Paul thrashed the Jewish believers for insisting on circumcision for Gentiles is that they were adding to Christ’s work and worth. Christ and…. is never the right answer.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV)
Let us then not boast in what we have done, what we know, our denomination or lack of it. May we cling only to the Christ of God who alone is eternal life. He is the answer!