Saturday, July 16, 2011
Do you look upon being a Christian as work? Sometimes we hear the phrase “a work in progress” or apply it to ourselves to explain how we’re not a completed, polished, glowing example of Christianity. But, is it really a job?
If it is, how are we doing? If we were to have a performance evaluation, how would it go? First we’d have to take a look at the job description.
What must one do to become a Christian? The keeper of a prison asked that very question, and here’s what happened:
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. (Acts 16:30-33 KJV)
Notice, please, there was a bit of time between his question and his baptism where they spake unto him the word of the Lord. That usually happens for everyone. It did for the Ethiopian that Philip was sent to:
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (Acts 8:32-36 KJV)
Some will say, “Well, that didn’t happen to Paul. He knew right away.” Nope, seems as though they forgot two important things – Saul met Jesus, personally, and heard words directly from the Lord. And, he spent some time studying before becoming Paul and going out to preach.
Do you get the idea that being a Christian isn’t instantaneous? The thief on the cross is the only person I know who received the promise of paradise in such a relatively short period of time. He shows us salvation is immediate, but being a Christian takes time. I've had the time to live my life where people can see what I do and say, and decide whether or not I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. The thief did not. One man, dying, was the only one in that crowd to openly request Christ to remember him in His kingdom.
Have we? Or do we want something on this earth? In such a limited space of time, the thief got the job description right. It is not what we do that measures up – it is what Christ can do and our acceptance of His ability. Do we believe He keeps His word?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15 KJV)