As I started getting out of legalistic religion and receiving revelation about God’s grace and unconditional love I started pondering about how hard people try to make their Christian walk. I guess partly because we never truly see it solely as a relationship. In general we put in a whole lot of effort to make sure that no one is at peace and can never be satisfied. I started thinking then about the early church and specifically Paul. Paul was sent to share the gospel specifically with the gentiles. We have taken this way too much for granted today by not focusing on how he revealed the gospel compared to the other apostles who were sharing with Jews. Back in his day Paul was not able to whip out his iPad and show the people who he was talking to the scriptures, in fact it would not have even been practical to carry around all the scrolls that comprised what we know as the Old Testament. And take into consideration most gentiles could not speak Hebrew let alone read Hebrew.
Anyhow the point I am trying to get to is if Paul was able to walk up to someone it would not be too practical to tell them that God loves them and is their Father, but sin entered into the world so the Law was created which no one could keep then Jesus came along to freely give us what the Law could not do. These people would have probably looked at him like he was nuts thinking this guy, Paul, wants me to believe that there is something wrong with me and that God is my Father but yet gave us the Law which actually separated us from him instead of bringing us closer just so he could send my brother, who I never knew of, to die for me. Now if you were not raised around the gospel you got to admit that sounds a little strange.
So what did Paul do? Well he did things like demonstrate the gospel instead declaring it. You can talk about God, going from the very beginning of time to the present to try to convince someone enough that God loves them enough to heal them, after you persuade them who God is, or you can just heal them so they need no persuasion just the facts of what happened. God’s way is a whole lot easier and more effective.
I think for the most part preaching the gospel to those who never heard is trying to add too much self into it. I am not saying it cannot be done because obviously millions believe on Jesus every year. But out of those how many were influenced by miracles instead of just going with the crowd or doing so to shut someone up. When I say self in this matter I mean that it is us, not God, who is trying to intellectually persuade someone to believe. And if we are trying to systematically go through scriptures to do so it just does not seem practical.
With that being said you know there is no reason why anyone would have to go to the Old Testament. I am not telling you not to, I read it regularly and I am well aware of Paul’s lecture on all scripture is profitable, but we are in a family now and in a family how do we learn who we are. How much did you have to read about your personal family growing up to experience it? I did not read a book about mine, but I sure know about it and lived as a part of it every day of my life. I know you should read the scriptures because in them they help reveal God’s grace all throughout history. I mean look at some of the main people in our family tree in the scriptures. Thieves, prostitutes, liars, adulterers, murderers, you know the typical family tree. If you don’t think God’s love is unconditional and his grace is overflowing then just read about these individuals whom God remained faithful to even when they did not.
When I was talking about not going straight to the Old Testament I meant that when one shares the love of God through miracles, signs and wonders, like Jesus has told every believer to do so, then you don’t need a whole lot of history for someone to believe that there is a God and that he loves them. I think it has something to do with that whole “actions speak louder than words” thing. Now some will say there were people who saw miracles in the bible and they did not believe. That is true and that is the minority. Peter did one miracle of healing and 5,000 believed. I would rather share the love of God and have 5,000 lives restored into fellowship with our Father then to lose 5,000 because one person did not want to believe.
So getting back to my point or question is it really that hard? Specifically I am talking about living and sharing the gospel. I think back to the 30 plus years I spent off and on trying to achieve something that I only now realize was totally impossible because God had already freely given it to me. Talk about feeling like “You have got to be kidding me!!!”. I just thank God that part of what he has freely promised is the restoration of all that was lost. Whew, I don’t know how and I don’t really care I just know that I am looking forward to the next 30 plus years receiving abundantly. So the biggest thing is the reality that it is not hard at all. It fact it is has simple has living out of who we are, our true identity as our Father sees us, and just resting in him.
Now I know it does not sound hard and that is because it isn’t and it is not suppose to be, but when you believed for most of your life that you need to take care of yourself because no one else will help you, well it is a little hard to persuade your heart overnight to just totally trust in Jesus in all things. The reason it is not hard is because it is not about you, or better yet your abilities. It is solely about being in Jesus and what Jesus has done.
The best thing I can do is compare what the life of a believer should be like is what is was for Adam and Eve prior to being deceived. They fellowshipped with one another and God daily and the interaction with God was very intimate and very real, probably in ways that most of us have yet to experience. They tended a garden that God planted and ate of the fruit that God grew. Man I am getting tired just thinking about all that work. I know a bit too sarcastic but why do we think it has to be more difficult than that. Didn’t Jesus come for just such a reason to reconcile the world unto God? Let’s face it if God fully provided for Adam and Eve then through Jesus he has done the same for us and we are the only one standing in our own ways.
Why do we think we have to do anything to help God? That can only come from being under a Law mentality because if you go to someone who has never heard of God and miraculously minister to them the love of God but never teach them Law but grace then they have no problems believing and receiving. I think the biggest issue simply lies in the fact that as a part of our identity we just have not been fully persuaded in our hearts that God truly loves us to such an extreme that he would be so gracious to us with not wanting something in return. Why? Probably because most people are comparing God to themselves and others just have never experienced such a love. Yes we all should experience the love of God. Love that is not experienced is useless.