Why Are You Just Standing There!?
I know a guy here in St. George with an LDS upbringing (not uncommon) who asked “so what exactly does someone have to do to be saved and Christian and stuff?” Knowing his background, I understood why he was asking. After all, when the whole “plan” is laid out in front of you, you get used to religion working a certain way. The important people at the top tell the less important people at the bottom what they have to do. I don’t have to tell you (if you’re LDS) all that entails. The more you do, the better you feel about yourself.
God gave man rules too. He called it his law. There were standards for dress, food, human relations, and human to God relations. God’s law was like a toggle switch. Obey or disobey. Disobedience opened the door to destruction and obedience opened the door to prosperity. Of course, you don’t have to read very far to notice how badly man failed over and over again. There was (and still is) an important element misfiring in the anatomy of man that caused him to persist in rebellion. We’ll call this malfunctioning element the heart of man.
According to one particular Prophet in the Bible, “the heart of man is deceitful, above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We need a new heart. A bad heart flips that toggle switch the wrong way because of its twisted condition. That heart is convinced that sin will bring satisfaction that God cannot. It wants pleasure without God. But if we had a new heart, it would change us in this way: Instead of loving ourselves most, we would love God most. As a result, the switch would be switched in a way that reflects our new nature. When our heart is good, we do good.
In order to be a Christian, you need to be new. Jesus called it being “born again”. The good news is that just like being born the first time, it takes little effort on the baby’s part. It just happens. It happens when the Spirit of God calls you to life! To answer my friends question on how to be a Christian, the answer is to be supernaturally changed. Since we can’t do that ourselves, we have to ask God to do it. After all, the Bible promises “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.
How was this overlooked in the old Testament? Well, actually it wasn’t. According to several Old Testament prophets, this concept (of needing heart-change) was understood, it just wasn’t possible. They knew that messiah was the only one who had the power to bring it about. Jesus (who is a person who makes up part of God) finally came and gave the essential key to unlock what we couldn’t attain. The key to our life was his death. He died in our place then rose again to give us new life here and forevermore. So do Christians need a law? Not anymore! We have what the law could never give. We have a new heart. Now we serve God out of love. Come to my Church and we’ll be happy to show you what it looks like!