Restoring the Faith Once Given Unto Us
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”- 2 Peter 3:17
When I joined the army and went for basic training, I had the privilege to talk to many people from different backgrounds about life. One thing I learned from them was that they were hungry for meaning. Almost all of them shared with me that they joined the army to bring new meaning into their lives. The deeper I talked with them, the better I came to know that they wanted something more than money and physical strength. Actually they wanted a new set of rules for their lives!
This is not far from what the world wants. There is a widespread hunger for meaning and God, but many bring aversion to traditional concepts, such as forgiveness, sin, commitment and even truth itself. Instead of fitting themselves into God's plan of salvation, some found a religion to fit them. As good as it is to find more people to fill the church pews, the church must not rearrange it’s message to suit those who want a faith to satisfy and fit their needs. The early Christians encountered the same challenges we are going through now. They grew in number; however, their growth was in accordance with the word of God.
The reason Christianity grew quickly in the early centuries was its tolerance and intolerance strategy (ideas). Early Christians tended to welcome people as "they were”. Who cares? We are all children of God and God's acceptance and forgiveness is not dependent on appearance. However, they did not welcome teachings or lifestyles that would cut the heart of the gospel message. It grew quickly because the gate was broad for new people but narrow for new teaching. A broad gate meant that you could get in; and a clear message meant that you knew what you were getting into. But today what do we see? Some sects of Christians focus on tolerance, while they neglect the intolerance aspect of the early Christian strategy. Because of this, it deters many people away from the truth. Preaching the gospel truth is enough to bring people to Christ!
Some of us have made a mistake by making Jesus relevant to our age. Jesus insisted that the age be relevant to him. He said “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”(John 8:58) and He mentioned His timeless power in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End". This tells us that all generations are relevant to Him.
The work of a Faithful Christian teacher is not to make the gospel “credible” to the world but to make the world believe THE GOSPEL. The gospel is already the truth that saves lives so we should not add or subtract from it to make it acceptable!