Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> EAGLES' REST: What's This "Commitment" or "Decision" Nonsense?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What's This "Commitment" or "Decision" Nonsense?

We hear a lot of things in church that make me wonder. Wonder if we're trying to "sell" Jesus, as though He were riding around in the back of some Snake Oil Salesman's cart. Frankly, the term "invite Jesus into your heart" is one of them, as though our little children understand what that term, in the Bible, means.

Well, two of my all time favorites are shown up there at the top. "Making a decision for Christ" and "Making a commitment to Christ" are the ones. As though our intelligence enables us to decide on something that will save us, or our sheer force of will is going to enable us to lead a life of followship that will get us beyond the Pearly Gates.

What kicked this rant off, in my mind, was watching a show about gangs in prison. Actually, it was about men in prison, and the problems that gang-relations and ex-gang-relations were causing them. And prisons were dealing as best they could with the problems, and were reasonably effective, just about as far as they could be without having every prisoner in his own private isolation cell 24/7.

I've seen a lot of TV shows and movies about prisons, but there's one scene I've never ever seen: a judge, or a prison guard, or a policeman telling a convict that he's going to be asked to make a decision for prison, or that's he's to make a commitment to confinement.

Never gonna happen. If you don't surrender, they're going to come get you. And for some crimes calling for the maximum penalty, they're not going to stop until they get you.

And until you surrender. Until you give up your rights to control your life.

I am by no means an authority in this. It may well be that those who make an earnest "commitment to Christ" then become God's responsibility, Who will then take care of them forevermore. I honestly don't know. But just in the Southern Baptist Convention, where commitments and decisions seem to be the order of the day, it appears the majority of the folks who've made commitments and decisions aren't in the church any more.

Is that evidence of something? I have to say yes. I'm just not sure what. And is it serious business?

You bet! Check the following verse, directed at us:

Hebrews 13:17: " Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account."

That sounds to me as if our leaders .. those appointed by God to Spiritual authority over the Ekklesia .. the church .. will have to give an account for us. I have to believe that's a very serious matter, and one which may cause many church Spiritual leaders a great surprise when they depart this life and reach the next.

Perhaps God is OK with people who "make a decision" and then go back to business as usual, and fall away from church. Maybe He would rather have them do that, than not. But when I examine Bible stories of Jesus Himself telling a would-be follower to "Let the dead bury the dead", or to "Sell all you have and give to the poor", it casts serious doubt, in my mind at least, on the veracity of such casual "salvation experiences".

Can we afford to play it casual. In sermons, in Sunday School lessons, in Bible Studies, in any sort of discussion concerning our faith and it implications?

I don't think so. Not that we have to be some sort of "hammer" in the hand of God, but I do think we need to be abundantly clear that the matter of salvation, surrender to the Lord, and obedience to Him is the last thing in the world we want to treat casually.

There's also the  matter of abundant life. Jesus died so we could have one, and I rather think He not only wants us to have one, but He also wants us to want to have one.

Complete surrender .. not that I can ever do that with any perfection .. is the only standard I know to shoot for, to have that.

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