In real estate, location, location, location is usually very wise advice. However, in spiritual matters, not so much. Some wit once said (paraphrased), “Sitting in a church building regularly doesn’t make one a Christian any more than standing in a garage daily makes one a car.” A determined person could stand in the garage and make car sounds and cover himself with metal pieces, but his location and actions would still not help change the situation. Absurd of course and totally in vain.
The analogy seem to also work for anyone who sits in a pew listening to sermons, giving money and singing songs. Even doing good deeds, though laudable, does not produce a Christian. Jesus said that even those who claim to have performed miracles and cast out demons while calling Him Lord were still called evildoers and told they would not enter the kingdom of heaven ( Mt 7: 21-23). Even though the rich young ruler had kept the 10 commandments since he was a boy ( Lk 18:18-23) went away sad and didn’t become a disciple of Jesus because he just couldn’t give up his wealth.
The Scribes and Pharisees, who were the spiritual leaders during the time of Christ, were repeatedly censured by Jesus for their love of being seen and honored by the common people. ( Mt 23:1-7). They did not practice what they preached ( v 3), they were called hypocrites and blind guides ( vv 13-14 & 16). They supposed their position and authority would admit them into the kingdom of heaven, but it was all in vain.
Obviously one can never become a car just by location and effort. Likewise one doesn’t become a Christian by location and harder efforts to please God. How then does the Bible tell us how to please God and have Christ as an intercessor? We must come to God with an admission of sins, a heartfelt sorrow and a willingness to be born again ( Jo 3:3). We have the sins of the old person washed away by God’s grace and our obedience( Acts 2:38) ( Acts 22:16). We can have Christ live within us and we can be in Him ( Rom 8:1) ( Gal 3: 26-29)( Rom 6: 3-6). As we begin this new life we now can wear the name CHRIST(ian) of our Lord. Through Him we can have every spiritual blessing on earth and on heaven to come Anything else is completely in vain.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
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