May 5, 2012

John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

I had not heard the term, “Easy Believism,” before about three years ago, but it certainly describes all too many churches. The problem has actually been around a long time. My seminary professor grandfather called it “Into bliss and out of blister.” It essentially means the idea that parroting a few words, saying you believe in Jesus, gets you into heaven and out of hell, with no attention paid to how you live from that point. That actually caused the great divide between Arminius and Calvin, but there are plenty of churches with that problem from both of those church traditions. I believe in eternal security, but I also believe that saving faith produces fruit. Jesus was very firm on both sides of that issue. Salvation by works was never His doctrine, but He was very clear that calling Him Lord without walking in obedience is meaningless. (Luke 6:46) As James stresses throughout his letter, it’s not a division between faith and works, it’s that true faith works.

I grew up with pretty clear teaching on this subject, and now I’m charged with teaching others about it. I don’t want to put unnecessary barriers in the way of anyone coming to Christ, but neither do I want to let people think that faith is passive. The Lord is continuing to teach us about faith and trusting Him, and I need to be in the forefront of that. People need to be challenged, but they don’t need to be driven by the pastor. Finding the right balance there can be difficult! I need to put feet to my own prayers, without thinking or feeling that I’ve got to generate answers, and that’s the attitude I need to teach the believers as well. “Rest, relax, rejoice,” doesn’t mean “Be lazy!”

Father, You are pouring blessings out on us, and we need to be faithful with them. As is frequently true, at this point I’m not sure exactly how I need to grow, but I am aware that I have that need. Help me be sensitive and obedient as You open doors, open my mind, and open my heart, so that I may be Your agent indeed, for Your will to be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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