By Steven Shaw
10 Things, People, especially Christians, need to stop saying/believing and the importance of believing why?
I’m writing this because I see a major problem in people proclaiming the name of God, yet having very little understanding of the God of the bible. I claim no such divine wisdom, however, as I grow and have grown over the years, I now see the dyer need of truth in our understanding, I lived deceived, arrogant and ignorant for a long time. As small as some of these may sound, we need to pick our words carefully when talking about Jesus and the Bible. We need to know if what in fact we are saying is Biblical. I pray this reaches your soul like it did mine. Most of us don’t have bad intentions; we are just uninformed, like I was for many years. Let’s get informed. It’s no small thing to be saying things that deal with eternity, and our good Savior. So lets begin. There’s many more that could be added but here’s some main ones.
- The “Sinners Prayer”. Disclaimer: I know many people have said this kind of prayer and that it was a true time of life changing and submitting to God. This isn’t about you. This is written to the people who are under the impression that because they said a prayer once, they have the assurance of faith in Christ. If your life wasn’t transformed by your prayer, if you’re not living as the bible calls you to live, and if there’s no fruit of the Spirit in your life that is growing every day, then you haven’t been saved.
Nowhere in the New Testament does anyone say a prayer for initial salvation. Salvation comes from a life surrendered to Christ, by turning from sin and towards Jesus, by calling Jesus Lord you begin your new life in Him, by dying to your old self and living your new one thought the power of the Holy Spirit, by knowing Jesus the way the bible reveals Him. Asking the Lord into your heart is un-biblical and worthless if it fails to change your life. What does the bible say about salvation? It says Jesus paid the price for us, our only response is faith and repentance, John 3:16-18. We have been justified by faith in Christ alone, Ephesians 2:8-9. Now, the work of the Holy Spirit begins sanctification in you and continues your entire life, 1 Peter 1:2. Stay away from just an empty prayer.
- Jesus is My “Personal Savior”.
Christ came and died for the church, His bride, Ephesians 2:25. If Christ calls you, your response is to belong to a church, serve, bless and love them just as Jesus does. Get out of the individual mindset, there is no alone Christian. It’s impossible to live in Christ outside the church. You can’t obey most of the New Testament commandments without being part of the Body of Christ. I’m not talking about a building, I’m talking a life lived with God’s people. In our day the majority of that looks like God’s people meeting in a building, but that’s not enough. We were made to be in relationships with each other, loving, correcting, and serving, 2 Timothy 3:16. Jesus is your Savior, He came and died for you, but we don’t need help to be self consumed, we need to realize how the entire New Testament was written to the church and that should tell us something.
- “I” Made Jesus “My” Lord and Savior
Jesus was your Lord long before you ever decided to answer His call. He is your Ruler if you submit to Him or not, He is King. And one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, Philippians 2:10. And yet some will still refuse to submit. Sad. The only belief you or I have has been given to us by God. Be humbled by that thought and grant others patience, understanding and prayer for their disbelief.
- I’m “Bringing” God Glory.
The only thing we bring God is sin that needs forgiveness. We do and should glorify God in all we do (and learning what that means), but we don’t bring anything to Him as if He is lacking anything 1 Corinthians 10:31. He needs nothing from us, He choses to show us love and give us life out of His own goodness, out of His overflowing glory. He created us to enjoy His glory and share in eternity with Him. God is complete and perfect and in need of nothing. Everything He’s done for us is out of His own pleasure and for His own glory. Our only part in God’s glory is beholding it and reflecting it to the world in every area of our lives.
- God Doesn’t Give Me What I Pray For, He Must Not Exist.
There is so much wrong with this statement that I would argue that this person is not a disciple of Christ at all and that should be dealt with first. God is under no obligation to listen to the prayers of the un-submitted life. He is under no obligation to grant man anything they think they deserve. Plus, nowhere, at anytime does the Bible say anything-about God giving you “anything” you want. Now before you jump up in arms, here’s the verse you’re thinking of; Psalm 37:4 “Delight in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” You must first delight in the Lord; Delight, as in walk in step with the Spirit. As in, when you are so consumed by God, because you are earnestly seeking Him, all you want is what he wants, and He’ll give it to you, not the selfish desires we think we need. When our heart is seeking God, we want what He wants, and He wants to give it to us.
- “I’m a Christian” or “I Believe in God”.
These statements aren’t wrong or bad; however, I hear these mostly when they are followed by a complete lack of knowledge of God or life that seems unchanged by Him. Believing in God means nothing without faith in Him. Proof of your salvation is seen in your life. Without the fruits of the Spirit, your life is in danger. If you’re lacking in passion and gaining wisdom of the God whom redeemed you, I’d asked if you are truly saved? If you don’t feel that desire, I’d rethink your salvation, and start to act on really being saved, like reading about Christ’s work on the cross, repenting of your sin and trusting in him with your life. There will be many “christians” in hell, so don’t stake all your faith in some prayer or belief you have that has no root.
- I Don’t “Feel” God.
I’m not sure what you’re expecting to feel, but the walk of a disciple is not a walk of emotion. There will be times of such presence of God with you, but that’s not our focus. We don’t live for a feeling. If you really want to feel God, be in His word and live out His plans for you. Never wait for him to give you some experience, always heir on the side of action. Start moving, and if God doesn’t want you to, you’ll know. His plan for you is holiness that results in a life submitted under Him. Then the joy and peace you “feel” will be the most greatly overwhelming thing you’ll ever know. And sometimes you’ll feel alone, that’s why we are called to his people, we lean on one another in those times, doing life with each other. God doesn’t promise warm fuzzy feelings in this life; He promises a lot more. He promises eternal life with Him and strength with the power of the Holy Spirit in us to deal with any and everything in the world, Ephesians 3:16. God promised us redemption and He has made the way through Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:7. The main thing you should be feeling is a deep desire to learn more and more about how to grow in Him and through Him.
- The Bible Isn’t Accurate.
Most people who believe this are taking their facts from TV or other flawed opinions, including their own. They’ve watched a History Channel special, and now they have all the convincing evidence they need to not believe in this God they have no desire to know anyway. If you did some educated study, you would find that nothing has been proved to be wrong in the bible. Even the searching secular world uses the bible because of its accuracy in areas of history, geography, science etc. What people can’t get on board with are the miracles, Jesus raised from the dead and the fact that if it is true, it claims to carry the only message of salvation. So you either believe it all, or none of it. The most dangerous thing is making up your own truth. I’m talking to “Christians” as well. Too many professing Christians are living with their own view of the bible and God. Read my blog “What God are you talking about?” I dive in deeper on this topic. We need to always be sure our opinions are rooted in the Gospel. If they aren’t, they are wrong. Truth isn’t determined by majority vote.
- I Love God But I Hate the Church.
There is no such thing as an alone Christian. It’s not optional to be part of the Body of Christ. If you have been redeemed into the body of Christ, you’ve been adopted into His family. That means you not only should and must be involved in a body of Christians, but you desire to. If you truly believe you are saved and feel no desire to be a part of the body, pray and ask God to soften your heart. If you have grown up in the church then I get it, you are over the religion of church, or you’ve come out of a false church, now you are hardened by what you think you know to be the church. But you will always run into messed up situations dealing with fallen people. But our command is to live, serve and be blessed by His people, because they are now our people. It’s a family, and whose family is perfect? None. But we endure and stay with them, right? That’s our life with a bible teaching, God-fearing, Christ exalting, Spirit empowered church. The only family that will last forever is the family of God, invest in them. Our Family in Christ is the most important family anyway.
- How Can a Loving God Let Bad Things Happen?
This question is the number one reason why people can’t trust their life to the God of the bible. That’s sad, and ignorance will get you nowhere. First, there are many terrible, evil, horrific things that happen in this life, but anyone that knows the promises of God, knows that we aren’t promised great things in this life. We are called to fight for our holiness and make disciples. We are actually promised hard times. If you aren’t a child of God, you are promised nothing, every breath you take is a gift undeserved. As for His children, we know how evil the world is, we know that His plans are much bigger than ours, we know that He works all things for good for those who love Him, we know what He has already done in this world, for this world, in us and in the people around us. To put it plainly: there is no bad thing that happens to His children that isn’t being worked for good by God. To clarify; again, God is under no obligation to do anything for the rebellious. The unrepentant person is living out the consequences for their decisions. What about rape, human trafficking and the other greatest evils in this life? God doesn’t will them, He doesn’t desire them, but they do not surprise him. God’s sovereignty will never be fully understood by us. We must find peace with knowing He knows best, we don’t, and He is working for the best in every situation, Psalm 115:3, Proverbs 16:9, Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28, to name just a few. Plus, only one good person in all of history was treated unfairly and He went voluntarily, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus went to the cross for you. That was your fault and mine. With all the evil, injustice, sin, and many others you could add to the list, God is sovereign over all things and there is only good in Him. He will make all things beautiful in its time, Ecclesiastes 3:11. Get off the small questions and ask the real ones, like, what must I do to be saved?
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other dangerous things people and Christians are being fooled into by this world. We need to be guarding our hearts and minds everyday at all times. Everything in us desires our flesh, and everything through Christ desires God. We are literally waging war on ourselves at all times, Romans 7:22-23. If you are claiming to love God then get to know Him. All we need has been revealed in His word. Put down, “The Secret”, and pick up the truth. If your version of the truth doesn’t match up with Gods word, you’re wrong. And if you have no desire for the bible, then pick another religion and stop calling yourself a Christian. God does not deal lightly with His name being taken in vain. There is no greater joy than living out what the bible calls us to live out. Learn, grow and live it out. Take it from me, i’ve experienced every sinful pleasure in this world and none compare to the love of Christ and living in His will.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
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