Last night over in Harrison, I had the privilege of listening to Wayne Eve speak on Christian "posers." That is to say, those people who are so called "nominal Christians." He went over what a poser looks like, and contasted that with what God has actually called us to.
And as I lay in bed last night afterward, I couldn't get the topic out of my mind, and my thoughts were churning relelntlesy. I had to get up and open the Word, and God pointed me to Hebrews 10, and what I saw there is what I'm going to write.
You see, in Scripture there isn't anyone who could be called a "nominal" Christian. The term really is an oxymoron. Claiming the name of Christ without a willingness to lay aside all earthly things is of no lasting value. Romans 10:9 says that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart you will be saved. It sounds so incredibly easy. But then if you turn back to John 3:36 you will see the unmistakable link between belief and obedience. Furthermore, in John 14 Jesus says that if we love Him we will obey His commandments. Even in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we see that Jesus' definition of a disciple is one who is baptized (public identification) and is being taught to obey all that He commands (the obedience of faith, see also Romans 1:4-5). Belief, that is, faith, saves. But all true faith is joined by action. Do my actions say I believe? Have I put my hand to the plow only to look back? Is my life a burning light for Christ, or I will I become a pillar of salt, something akin to Lot's wife? Hebrews 10 terrifies me.
"For if we sin willfully after we have recieved the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgement, and fiery indignation which will devour the advesaries." (verses 26-27
Is that me? Am I willfully continuing in sin? I presume here that the author does not mean a single instance of choice in isolation (for my reasoning in this assumption, see 1 John 1, Romans 7), but rather a consistent, strong willed, bull headed rejection of what God has made clear. But that should not cause us to ignore it. There is still conisiderable reason to pause and give a moment to introspection here. What has God called me to do (or stop doing), either through the clear directive of Scripture or the prodding of the Spirit, that I am ignoring/rejecting? Can I continue to trample on the blood of Christ, and call myself His follower, and still expect continuos loving forgiveness from God the Father? I fear many Christians would answer "yes" here, where the author of Hebrews is saying "no."
"Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the witness of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who said, "'Vengence is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." And agian, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:28-31)
A fearful thing indeed. It would seem worthwhile to consider my life. How am I using it? Am I living a if I were a living sacrifice (Romans 12)? Or am I counting this world my home and living for a pleasure and a gain that are temporary and fleeting? Am I radically obedient to the one who loved me and reconciled me to Himself by the blood, or am I trampling that same blood and counting it as nothing? Am I a disciple or a poser? There is no "Christian-lite." It's all or nothing. And it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.