by Christopher Harbin

Be Careful How You Live
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Kings 3:3-14; Psalm 34:1-18; John 6:43-58; Eph 5:15-20

Baptists cut our eye-teeth on concerns of personal conversion. We stood for principles of the individual's right and responsibility to come before God without dependence upon an institutional church. We understood that we are to stand individually before God to give account of our lives before the Almighty. We grasped that there will be no one to mediate that accounting, but we are to face the throne of heaven alone. It was a marked distinction from the standard theology of the day in the 1600's and 1700's. The Catholic Church declared that it alone held the keys to heaven. The Church of England made the same claim of authority over the individual. We were right in our stance, but sometimes there is a need to recover from such a driven focus. If we are not careful, the good principles on which we build our lives and theologies become excessive preoccupations and steer us away from the solid foundation on which we began.
Surely, you also have heard the gospel message reduced to a single moment in one's life. We have heard such on television and perhaps in church or at funeral services, as well. Since the days of the revival movement sweeping the US in the Great Awakening, we have been tempted to reduce the gospel of Jesus Christ down to one single identifiable event in time--a moment in which one gives allegiance to Jesus as Lord and Savior. It makes for an easy presentation. It makes for an easy system to count conversions and assure ourselves we are doing our part in evangelism. It also makes it easy to speak of our prized Baptist doctrine we call the "Security of the Believer." It doesn't mean we have done a good job in our summary.
There is much more to the gospel than a decision made in one singular moment in time. There is something more regarding a lifetime's standing alongside that singular decision. It is what we call discipleship. ...

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