Jan. 29, 2018

Driving Miss Crazy...

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

I realize I’ve shared with you before that I am reading The Message from cover to cover and taking my own sweet time. I consider it to be a cross-country drive through the basics of God’s word. While it isn’t a scientifically proven translation, it makes for enjoyable reading and is a great refresher.

I think my journey is taking awhile (I began in 2014!) because I try to stop and compare translations. There seems to be a faction out there that thinks the author of The Message is a great sinner because he tweaked God’s word. I try never to take anyone else’s word for it when it comes to issues of the Spirit. I go to the Source, read for myself, pray to my Lord, and take it from there.

I love, love, love Ephesians 2; regardless of which translation I read. Ephesians 2 is Paul’s lesson on remembering what salvation is all about. I’ve been struggling the past few days because of comments made by one of my favorite preachers. When he made the comment, I cringed. As I meditated on his comment and compared the comment to scripture, I became even more convinced that the comment was denominationally-driven; not spiritual or scriptural fact.

Religious arguments drive me crazy!

I think a lot of the struggle is the fact that I was brought up Southern Baptist and we were taught our way was the only right way. Anything outside of our way is the wrong way. Or at least that is what I was led to believe.

This isn’t just a Baptist issue. It’s universal that most denominations think they’ve cornered the market on scripture deciphering. Again, it’s driving me crazy! What useless arguments!

I think, somewhere along the way, we stopped allowing the Holy Spirit to move and to do the convicting. We are so busy trying to convince other people that our way is the only way, we lose sight of the magnificent work the Spirit can accomplish if we would just get out of His way!

Please allow me to share the revelation I received from Ephesians 2 tonight. (Yes, I’ve read it before. No, it doesn’t always say the exact same thing to me. It’s called, “spiritual growth.” God reveals just what we need at the exact time we need it.)

Salvation isn’t based on what we do. While I think we all know that, I’m not certain we all behave as if we know it. I’m kind of tired of hearing one group say you must walk the aisle, pray the exact words you’re told to pray and get dunked in order to be deemed acceptable to God. I realize many of you truly believe this process must be followed exactly for it to count. I also believe other Christians do not have to follow your process for Jesus to come into their lives. Legalism is subtle, isn’t it?

Salvation isn’t based on what we know. For the majority of my life, I’ve witnessed argumentative Christians (who like to refer to themselves as having “zeal”) go on an all-out attack trying to convince someone their beliefs and denominational practices are wrong. Why? That’s all I want to ask is “why?” Why do you see it as necessary to prove others wrong? Arrogance is subtle, isn’t it?

Salvation isn’t based on where we go to church. If anyone over 40 is reading this, I probably just lost you. You most likely view my statement as heresy. How can I think for one moment any denomination is right except for YOUR denomination? Ever since I was three years old, Ive heard the Catholic church is wrong; Episcopalians are too liberal; Methodists ride the fence; Baptists follow John the Baptist and not Christ; etc., etc. Do I need to keep going? Folks, how can we be experts on something we know very little about? Exclusiveness is subtle, isn’t it?

Okay…here is the shocker. Are you ready? According to the bible, God’s word, every Christian is part of the same Church because we are all part of the body of Christ. Let me say that again – every Christian is part of Christ’s Church regardless of which church they attend. Revelation is powerful, isn’t it?

So, here is where you get to decide: Are you driving me crazy or have I already arrived on my own?

There is one way to Heaven and it is through Christ Jesus our Lord. It has absolutely nothing to do with our efforts, our beliefs, religious practices, personal preferences, denominational practices, or anyone’s ability to market an idea. Salvation is His gift to us; not vice versa.