One of the greatest dangers facing Christendom today is the theology that teaches a formulaic solution to man’s condition rather than the actual person of Christ. For example, I hear things like: pray this prayer and you will be saved, come forward and receive the grace of God, you need to be baptized, etc… Doing these things are an important part of following Jesus, but they are often presented as the quick ticket on the train out of Hell with only a cursory mention of Jesus as the conductor. These formulas can be taught in complete isolation from knowing Christ and thereby negating the power of salvation through a misplaced faith and loyalty. We begin to put our faith in the formula rather than the person of Jesus Christ. Then we start hearing statements of faith like, “I know I’m saved because I went to catechism, or I was baptized, or I prayed the prayer.” Rather than, “I know I’m saved because I am a follower of Jesus and He is transforming me into His image.”
As witnesses and disciplers, we need to help potential followers of Jesus understand that these religious acts are empty in themselves. We need to help them see true spirituality is directly centered on the person of Christ (2 Cor 13.5, 1 Jn 5.11-13). And, although I believe conversion is instantaneous, I also believe assurance does not come from a single religious act but rather from an active lifestyle of following Jesus. We need to spend the time required to introduce people to Jesus so they can make an informed decision. Witnessing is helping people discover Jesus not religion.
The incredible side effect of sharing Christ rather than the formula is that we actually get to know Him better and become like Him.
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© 2008 Following Jesus by Chuck Wood All Rights Reserved