Sunday, March 8, 2020

Not Enough

From a comment by Donna Nelson

When John the Baptist and Jesus preached repentance, they were not preaching to Gentiles; they were preaching “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Their call for repentance means they were declaring to the Jews that being a Jew was not enough to be saved.  They were telling the Jewish nation that being a physical descendant of Abraham was not enough, that being circumcised was not enough, that keeping the law was not enough.  They were telling Israel that God required righteous conduct from each individual who would be saved in the end and that there is no safety in numbers.  Their message was that nobody will be saved because he belongs to a certain group, defined by any earthly measure or spiritual experience.
Those in this covenant who have been taught the truth about the new birth often emphasize “getting the holy Ghost” much the same way the Jews in Jesus’ day emphasized getting circumcised.  And the effect is often the same: pride in receiving it.  It struck me when, as a teenager, I heard my father say during a sermon in Louisville, Kentucky, “There are more people with the holy Ghost on their way to hell tonight than you can count.”  My father was combatting the pride of the “get the holy Ghost” camp just as Paul once combatted the pride of the “get circumcised” camp.  Both camps are like the modern “get saved” camp, and that is not good.
Jesus said that in the Final Judgment, some people would say to him, “Lord, we worked miracles in your name,” but that he would reply to them, “Depart from me, you evildoers!”  Those people probably often testified of the day they “got the holy Ghost”.  Maybe they testified of it too often, and neglected doing the will of God in their daily lives.
Many times, Jesus warned his followers that only those who live the way God wants men to live will be saved.  Yes, you must be born again; yes, you must “get the holy Ghost.”  But after that, what?  It is your attitude and your treatment of others, including your treatment of the God who gave you the holy Ghost, that will determine where you spend eternity.