Archive for November 15th, 2007

Simple is Good

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Acts 15:1-21 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Ben Lamb):

What in the world were “certain individuals [who] came down from Judea” thinking?! It’s plain weird (to me anyway) to believe that a medical procedure can be a make-or-break factor for getting into heaven. Yet, that’s among the things that those “certain individuals” were preaching. Thank goodness for Paul and Barnabas being instrumental in ultimately getting the matter corrected. [Aside: notice the great tact shown by the writer of Acts not using the individuals’ names.]

But do we, today, have some other ideas about salvation that are equally weird?

“I’m not good enough.”

“It’s too late in my life to change now.”

“It doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you’re really sincere about it.” or “I believe all the correct doctrines, so it doesn’t really matter how I behave.”

“I know some Christians who act worse than I ever did. I deserve a Pearly Gates pass more than they do.”

I’ve never found that verse in the Bible which states, “Hey, you future peeps in the 21st century, listen up. God’s mind will have changed by then. Instead of getting into heaven by being a follower of Jesus, you’ll have the ability to haul yourself up there without any help from him. Yup, you’ll be able to keep yourselves so perfect that God will think you’re straight out of the pre-Forbidden Fruit era in the Garden of Eden.” Maybe there’s a reason we don’t see that statement in the Bible…

Humans are… uh, well… human.

God knows we’re not perfect. Yet, some people seem to be convinced that they have to be perfect anyway. If we had to be perfect before we can begin to follow Jesus, it would be kind of like washing your clothes before you take them to the Laundromat just so nobody will know that you have a pile of dirty duds.

In today’s reading, verse 11 states the matter precisely, clearly and simply: “On the contrary, we [the early Church’s Jewish-born apostles and elders] believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they [the Gentiles] will.” What a beautiful message to deliver to the world!

Thought for the day: As the world seems to grow more complicated, we can always rely on God’s plan to remain pure, plain, and simple.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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