The Christian Message has a wonderful appeal. It is not first a demand with which we must comply. Do this! Do that! It is not a series of divine don’ts. It’s God’s generous offer of love—forgiveness, family and the Father’s smile. He takes the initiative in seeking to embrace us in His love, beyond our deserving.
But surely there is more to the good news of the gospel than what it can give us. In the offer of the gospel lies a demand. “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” could be tough in His demands for loyalty, sacrifice and obedience.
Futurist Tom Sine says, “We have reduced Christianity to a crutch to help us through the minefield of the upwardly mobile life. Our books, broadcasts and sermons encourage us to understand what God can do for us—help us get ahead in our jobs, color us beautiful. Biblical Christianity does not mean living the American dream with a little Jesus overlay. The big issue to be faced here is who is ultimately in charge of my life.”
Most of us like a buyer’s market. We want to contract for services of the Almighty on our own terms, sort of shopping by cable TV. No obligation, with a good return policy. Maybe that’s why we like going to church on TV. All the people are squeaky clean and you can go out for coffee when they take the offering.
I read a remarkable testimony of a Salvationist in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Anna Maria was deep into spirit worship and witchcraft, communing with evil spirits, casting spells, and living between the cemetery and a spiritualist center. She came to The Salvation Army because she had seen a television program produced by the Army the year before. She heard the truth of the gospel. She found release from her bondage through the power of the risen Christ, and now she is living and working in one of our homes as a Salvationist in that country.
You may be enslaved and controlled by the powers of darkness and not even know it in our own current culture in this land. What was done in her life can be done in yours.
Paul A. Rader, The War Cry