the Second Week of Advent
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Truths to Live By - One Day at a Time
In explaining the way of salvation to others, it is tremendously important to “make the message clear and plain,” avoiding anything that might confuse them. They are usually confused enough already because Satan has “blinded the minds of them which believe not.”.
Let me give an example of how we can say things that are real earstoppers to the unconverted. We begin witnessing to a young man whom we have just met for the first time. Before we get very far, he interrupts us, saying, “I don’t believe in religion. I tried religion and it didn’t do anything for me.” To which we are apt to reply, “I don’t believe in religion either, and I don’t preach religion.”
Just stop there! Can you imagine how confusing this is to our prospect? Here we are, talking to him about matters that are obviously religious, and yet we are telling him that we don’t believe in religion. It’s enough to blow his mind!
Of course I know what we mean. We mean that we are not asking him to join a church or denomination but to enter into a relationship with the Lord Jesus. We are not pushing a creed but a Person. We are not advocating reformation but regeneration, not a new suit on the man but a new man in the suit.
But when he thinks about religion, he thinks of anything that deals with the worship and service of God. The word “religion” to most people signifies a system of beliefs and a distinctive lifestyle that are connected with man’s relationship to Deity. So when we tell him that we don’t believe in religion, the thought immediately races through his mind that we must be pagans or atheists. Before we have a chance to explain what we mean, he has already tagged us as irreligious.
Actually it isn’t true to say that we don’t believe in religion. We do believe in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. We do believe that those who profess faith in Christ should show it by their lives. We believe that pure and undefiled religion is found in caring for orphans and widows and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world.
What we don’t believe is that religion is the savior. Only the living Christ can save. We don’t believe in the watered-down versions of Christianity that are abroad today. We don’t believe in any system that encourages people to think that they can get to heaven by their own works or merit. But we ought to be able to explain this to people without stunning them with such bombshells as “I don’t believe in religion either.” Let us not play games with words when souls are at stake.
'Truths to Live By - One Day at a Time' Copyright 2007 © William MacDonald. 'Truths to Live By - One Day at a Time' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.