Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Doing Business With God

We enjoy comedy, humor, laughter, fun. God made us this way. I often picture God smiling at His children, especially His very young children. Scripture tells us that His joy is our strength.

But sometimes God wants to do serious business with us. We'll be looking at one of the serious scriptures Sunday, Hebrews 6:1-12:

"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

The most sobering words are in the second paragraph. God tells us that there will be people who appear to be Christians, who make professions of faith, who have been enlightened, tasted and shared, who will fall away (at some point) and never come back. Any of us could, potentially, fall into this category. How careful we must be to avoid "churchianity", avoid going through the motions, avoid making all the right noises, only to discover we never really had a relationship with Jesus, never really made an impact for Him, never bore any fruit. How tragic!

Yet the warning comes with a blessing as well. The writer was convinced that his readers were real followers of Jesus, that God would honor their commitment and work for Him. I have the same confidence in our church as well. However, as we near the end of the year, let me seriously counsel you as scripture does, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"

No comments: