I’m in the middle of a conversation with a good friend right now about salvation. We both noted that the “brochure” of salvation we were sold as children looks nothing like the words of Jesus. It’s like we were tricked into buying a time-share. Who knew that the “free” lodging was going to be this expensive?
I remember sitting in a life group and this topic came up. I challenged the group to actually read the words of Jesus and look at how He described a relationship with himself. Take up your cross, follow me, obey me, put my yoke upon you, when you DO this, obey, stay IN the vine, produce fruit, there will be some who say ‘Lord, Lord’ that I never knew.
What we often paint as the “hard words” of Jesus is in reality the baseline of His understanding of relationship. What we often paint as the baseline of relationship with Jesus is strangely absent: pray a certain prayer, cognitively recognize certain theological truths, have an emotional experience.
Got your attention yet? It’s concerning to hear the gospel presented as a set of theological truths to be “believed” in with no real life change, no real relational investment to Jesus at all. It’s more than concerning. It’s horrific and “selling” a false Gospel.
What Christianity is (should be) at its core a relationship with Jesus Christ. A living, breathing relationship. And all relationships take some work, some investment. All relationships change us in some way. Bad relationships change us for the bad, good relationships change us for the good. Relationships require time. All that is true of a good, healthy “earthly” relationship is true of our spiritual relationship with Jesus.
I’m not proposing a “works based” salvation. I am suggesting that a relationship with Jesus requires more than just a prayer and cognitive recognition of a set of facts. Just like my relationship with my wife took more than me standing up in a tux and saying “I do.” My whole life changed because of that relationship…and so should any relationship with Jesus.