Saturday, August 6, 2011
This is a photo of the Honor Guardsmen from our nation’s armed services, marching to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., during Veteran’s Day ceremonies in 2004.
They serve here in honor of the Unknowns, but it is also an honor to provide this service. There is a selection process with many requirements. Those requirements exclude a large number of applicants, making this a very exclusive group.
Christianity is exclusive, too, though some would say that as a pejorative, state it in a derogatory manner. Christianity is exclusive not because any person is turned away, but because many turn away from the requirements.
Before going into any job, certain training is expected. It’s part of job descriptions. Without that training, no need to apply.
God has a slightly different way of recruiting. Everyone can apply, the position is open to all. The requirement can be stated in one verse:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
Or another, after a jailer asked how to be saved:
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31 KJV)
It’s something we believe and we tell others:
But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (Acts 15:11 KJV)
That’s the easy part. Living with that knowledge, that salvation, takes more effort. Paul likened it to running a race:
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:5-7 KJV)
Paul’s call for Timothy (and us) to endure and work also calls for making full proof – and that requires training. Where do you get your training? What do you look for? My suggestion is with the scriptures, in prayer. Don’t look for confirmation of what I write or what you believe. Hear what the Bible has to say, not another:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9 KJV)
There was an example set for us:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)