Saturday, December 26, 2009

Forgiveness =salvation?

".......and we know that he received God's forgiveness 4 or 5 years ago...." the message read on our family forum. The sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach would not go away, even after I deleted the post from my inbox. I'd heard of this before---people thinking forgiveness equated salvation, but surely not in my family! We knew better...didn't we?

  To give a little more background concerning the above post, a relative has an elderly in-law that's not doing too well. From what I can gather, the in-law is in such severe poor health, that returning home is simply not an option. We're given updates from time to time, with requests of "keep them in your prayers" for strength and encouragement. Admittedly, I winced when I read that this particular person has 'accepted God's gift of forgiveness" several years back. Was it merely a slip of the tongue, or do these people really think that eternal life comes from simply being forgiven? Semantics maybe? Years of frustrated emails and conversation has taught me that my family is not one to embrace the totality and simplicity of the gospel. Like most of the main stream churches, God apparently forgives all of your past sins at the moment of "sinner's prayer", but after that, it's up to the sinner to keep short accounts with God in order to get yet more forgiveness. How this was going to be pulled off without a blood sacrifice, I'm not sure, but nonetheless, that's the main stream. So begs the question: Do I email this relative, or simply ignore it and move on? Many times Christ didn't do anything in his hometown, saying a prophet often isn't welcomed in their own town. Of course, the main reason Christ didn't do this or that, was simply because he wasn't told to do this or that. So begs another question: Am I being told from God to take this relative aside and pursue a conversation of the forgiveness vs. eternal life? Undecided at this point. We all have our jobs inside the body of Christ. There is such a story in the Old Covenant where as long as Moses had his hands raised, the Israelites were winning against the battle of the day, but as soon as his hands lowered, the Israelites started losing. After a while, Moses' daddy in law and brother Aaron helped Moses keep his hands raised. I would much rather help teachers of the gospel 'hold their hands up' so to speak and let them do the speaking. To date, I am an avid supporter of such a ministry that shares the Gospel. Although I don't hold home Bible studies, I don't preach from a street corner, nor do I "go to church", I quietly send my contribution in monthly, and help them stay on the air to share the Gospel. They do it well, too. So, is that my part in the body? Simply send what I have, give a few 'attaboy's from time to time, and leave the preaching/teaching up to them? Let them be Moses. I'll be the Daddy-in-Law. Lot less hassle. The host of this particular ministry has admitted on more than one occasion, that he's compelled to share the gospel--as in he couldn't 'not' share if he tried. Since I'm not compelled to share the gospel, would that mean it's not my place? I don't know. I suppose I'll think on it a while longer before I decide.
Would love to hear your take on this..

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