Across Protestantism, there is a vast range of instructions given to new believers. Some of these ‘inductees’ are told:

  • You must speak in tongues or you are not born again
  • You simply pray a sinner’s prayer and you are set for eternity
  • You must be baptized by immersion in order to be ‘in’
  • You must take a series of classes, then become an official member of the church
  • You must rid yourself of all sins, then return for pastoral blessing
  • You must submit to the authority of the church shepherds in all areas of life
  • Etc. etc. etc.

Each of these instructions are intended to ‘help’ begin the journey. At issue is that each of them unintentionally burdens these new believers with ‘helps’ which are in contrast with the Scriptures. According to the Divine revelation given to Paul, his response to this is: “ .  .  . salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” Eph. 2:9, TPT. He further states that: “Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of [God’s] grace and kindness which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ”. (2:7).

The Gospel, the Good News, is truly good news, not simply a Biblical term we throw around. It comes to us principally as an invitation, an invitation with no strings attached. For the entire duration of Jesus’ ministry here on earth, he was continually inviting people to follow him with one word: Come. He was intent on tearing down the barriers which kept people bound and excluded. The Apostle John writes, in Chapter 1 of his Gospel account: “Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus, the Anointed One, unveils truth wrapped in tender mercy.” (1:17). The Law (which no one was ever able to keep) was given to serve as a haunting reminder of the gulf between fallen humanity and an Eternally Perfect God. Jesus lifted the impossible burden of our sins and rebellions from our shoulders by his sinless death on the cross, lovingly putting the approaching of his throne, his Kingdom, freely within our reach. Hallelujah! Paul again: “ .  .  . by constantly using [our] faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside [us], and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of [our] lives.” (Eph. 3:17). It would appear our friendship with Jesus, our life with him at our side for all eternity, is a Love Plan that has been done and dusted by the Father, affirmed in Jesus, and which continues to be powerfully reinforced by the Holy Spirit within us! So; “Let love be the beautiful prize for which [we] run.” (1 Cor. 13:13b).  PD

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