Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Living in Purgatory... Welcome to the South

I'm reading through 1 John again this morning for the second time in the past month. There's just so much good stuff in here.

"We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:19-21

These words are weighty... serious... life-changing. Not everyone is easy to love... Not everyone do want to love.

Down in the deep South, I refer to it as "purgatory." Most people I meet think they are "saved" but seem to be continually trying to earn God's approval. They seem to think, "I'll do this "blank" God, so you can answer"blank."" It's this horrible cycle of guilt, try to earn back God, fail, guilt, try to earn back God, fail, guilt... you get the point.

Jesus told us that He came to give us life and to give it to us abundantly. This cycle is not it.

Why the cycle?

1) There are many Christians out there that don't know the Word and do not live in it. They try to do the Christian life on their own when God has ordained for the Christian to do life within His body- the Church.
2) There are many "Christians" out there that aren't Christians at all. They have been in church just long enough to learn enough to "inoculate" themselves from the true Gospel. Feeling confident of their salvation, they live in purgatory- unable to help themselves or anyone else. Doomed to hell. They hate themselves and everyone else.

How can we be confident of our salvation?

It goes back to the verses I quoted in 1 John. Do we love God? If so, do we love others?

Just in case we might misconstrue the meaning of "love," God included a nice breakdown of the word in 1 Corinthians 13 (not self-seeking, not rude, not arrogant, never fails, etc...)

Check your heart. Don't be deceived. Too many are. John wrote at the end of 1 John, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may KNOW you have eternal life. (emphasis mine)." 1 John 5:13

Do you know?

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