A Message to the Religious
This article is written to those who are somewhat religious. Maybe you were raised in the church. Maybe your parents were Christian. Maybe you have some basic knowledge about the Bible and Jesus.
I’m going to ask you to use your imagination. In your mind, transport yourself back in time 2,000 years to 30 A.D. Imagine you live in Israel, and you have been hearing fantastic news about this guy named Jesus. You have heard the testimonies about the healing and miracles He is performing.
It is hard for you to get around because you are lame. As a small child, you were thrown from a horse, and your leg was broken. Because of crude, ancient medical care your bone never healed correctly, and you were left with a permanent limp. There is pain with every step.
You hear Jesus will be coming to your town. You are curious. Could the testimonies and reports be true? The day comes and Jesus arrives in your town. The crowds form around Him. He has trouble walking through the crowded streets, but He makes it to the town square and begins to preach about the Kingdom of God. Soon, the sick and blind and lame are brought to Him. He begins to heal them with power. Sight is restored. Fevers are broken. Legs are healed. You are amazed. The testimonies are true! You have seen it with your own eyes. You believe. Jesus is able to miraculously heal.
Soon the day is over. The crowds disperse to go home and Jesus and His disciples get up to leave. They must travel to the next town to continue spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. They are tired as they shuffle down your street to leave. A man with leprosy runs up to Jesus. He had to wait for the crowds to disperse. He pleads for mercy and healing. Jesus lovingly embraces the man and touches him. “Be clean” He commands, and the leprosy miraculously disappears. He is healed. The man jumps for joy and praises God. The disciples cheer with the man as he celebrates. Soon, the group begins to walk again. They get closer to your house. You open the front door and stand on your doorstep. The group walks by and they see you with your crutches. Jesus stops and He looks at you. Your eyes meet, but you remain silent. Your mouth never utters a word. You never step off your doorstep. After a moment of awkward silence, Jesus sadly turns away and the disciples shuffle out of town.
You had believed in your mind, but you remain unhealed. Why?
The Bible explains why: “Faith without action is dead faith.” (James 2:26)
You needed more than intellectual knowledge. You needed a personal encounter with Jesus. You needed to come to Him, asking Him to heal your lame leg. If you had only come to Him, He would have graciously responded with healing. But you stood unmoved, and you missed your chance.
My friend, DON’T LET THIS BE YOU IN REAL LIFE!
So many people have a measure of religion. So many people have a little bit of knowledge about Jesus. They say, “I was raised in church” or “My family is Christian”. They are content with this, and so they stand still, far off from Jesus. They are comforted by their religious knowledge, but they have never come to Him. Don’t let this be you.
My friend, I plead with you: RUN TO HIM! Don’t be satisfied with intellectual knowledge. Call out to Him. Plead with Him for mercy and salvation. Confess your guilt as a sinner and ask Him to be your Lord and your Savior. His answer will always be, “Yes!”.
You must have a personal encounter with Jesus. Faith without action is dead. Jesus always saves and forgives those who come to Him. He will heal your soul, but He doesn’t force you to come. You must come of your own free will. If you will, He will. If you won’t, He won’t.
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” (Jesus, Matthew 7:7)
And if you come to Him, obey Him in baptism. Jesus commands that all who follow Him are to be baptized. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep it simple. You can be baptized in a church, in a swimming pool, in a hot tub, in a bathtub, in a pond, in a river, in the ocean… all you need is water. You can even have a friend baptize you. This is the only instruction Jesus gives: “Baptize them in the name of the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” So, when you are baptized, first confess your faith in Jesus (“I believe in Jesus and I have chosen to follow Him”) and then your friend should say “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit” as they dunk you or pour water over you.
Faith without action is dead, but those who come to Jesus are made alive.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked man forsake his own way, and the unrighteous man forsake his own thoughts. Let them return to the Lord, who will have mercy on them. Let them return to God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6,7)