This is the great fear of many a believer. We read Jesus’ words that narrow is the gate that leads to life and few there are who find it . . . and we fear that we aren’t one of the few. Many books have been written to reassure people of their salvation. And that’s all well and good, I suppose. But I suspect there is more need these days to shake up those who should not be assured, because I fear there are a lot of us.
A huge number of people reject Christianity not because of its tenets but because of the lives of those who claim to hold to its tenets. Folks look at “Christians” and don’t want to be one of those. I wish those folks would understand this Guinness quote – that those “Christians” turning them off to the faith are actually atheists unawares. They may claim Christ with their lips, but they walk atheism with their feet.
That may sound harsh, but understand that I direct the harshness to myself as well. My heart is increasingly heavy about CINOs – Christians In Name Only. Christianity seems to be the default to check in the Religion box around here. A lot of Americans think of themselves as Christians just because they grew up in America, and their parents went to church, and they go at Christmas and Easter, and they have a Bible . . . somewhere . . .
Of the masses of people who will be sitting in Christian worship services this coming Sunday morning, I fear that the vast majority are not on that road to the narrow gate. They are happy to have Jesus as their Savior, but have no real intention of making him their Lord. They love the god that they have created in their mind -- who gives them good things, smiles and forgives all their foibles, rushes in to save the day when life gets hard . . . but they don’t want much to do with the real God – who actually has expectations of them and their time here on earth.
Even those of us who are very sincere in our desire to worship and serve Christ, if we really looked at our lives closely, don’t act on what we say we believe. We live essentially like the rest of the world – we just vote Republican and stick a fish on our car. On a day to day basis, we don’t act on our faith. We don’t believe this stuff strongly enough to really risk much by it. We are atheists unawares.
This is about more than our eternal destiny . . . this is about all we’re missing here on earth. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, Jesus says in John 10. But read the rest of that chapter carefully -- the promise only applies if Jesus is your Shepherd.