by Karla Hein
As I’ve been sharing my faith lately, I’ve noticed my conversations have been focused on the profound peace of an all-knowing, powerful God and the assuring hope of my future with Christ. That’s attractive truth in a culture where insecurity about one’s identity and fear of disaster weighs heavy. However, I’ve started to wonder if marketing Christianity as attractive to unbelievers can result in tickling ears rather than delivering truth (2 Tim. 4:1-5). Have I made the by-products of salvation the primary focus because it’s easier to explain than the theology of repentance and faith in Christ?
My thoughts turned to Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). He taught that few would find the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7:14). His teachings were hard, and “many disciples withdrew” as a result (John 6:60, 66). Similarly, Paul wrote that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (I Cor. 1:18). Doesn’t sound like an effective strategy for gaining converts to Christianity! Even further, once we have been set free from our slavery to sin, we become slaves of righteousness– instruments of God (Rom. 6). We were bought by Christ while unresponsive to Him, dead in our sins (Eph. 2:5). Our lives then become not our own, but a display of His kindness and for His glory (Eph. 2: 7; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
I am grateful that God’s light “has shone in [my heart] to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor.4:6). A gift that leaves me boasting only in the grace of God, instead of my own performance or effort (Eph.2: 8-9). Why then, when it comes to the salvation of others, do I think it’s up to me to close the deal (2 Cor 4:4-6)? Paul, the impressive evangelist said, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Instead of offering a cleverly devised tale, I can unashamedly offer the Gospel as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (2 Pt. 1:16; John 14:6; Rom. 1:16). Few will accept the invitation to follow Jesus, of acknowledging the Creator (instead of creation) as the ultimate authority (Rom. 1:25). But to those who do surrender, Christ becomes precious- the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:30). When I speak of my transfer from darkness into light, “may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col. 1:13; Gal.6:14).