Posted December 21st, 2005 by E. Goodman
I think the best way to handle the tough call of whether a person is saved or not is to not try to answer it. “Judge not, lest you be judged” is usually quoted by judgemental people as they pass judgement on someone. “I’m not judging you,” they like to say, “God is.” But I read where Jesus tells us that we’re going to be surprised when we get to heaven at who isn’t there that we expected to be and who is that we were sure would never make it. Again, there is not salvation outside Christ. But who are we to know the heart of a person? I believe in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but I’ve met a whole lot of really good Mormon folks who are trapped in works and religion, and don’t know Jesus.
So how does this translate into missions? Well, if we stopped counting the number of salvations (or baptisms), and instead focused on disciple-making, it really wouldn’t matter where someone was spiritually. Our task, then, would be to take people in whom God is working from wherever they are to maturity in Christ. Salvation would happen somewhere along the way, but as a matter between each individual and God Himself, it might not happen according to our schedule. This way, we don’t change our focus between pre-salvation “evangelism” and post-salvation “discipleship.”
In preaching only an evangelistic message, we inadvertantly change the message itself. We present a Christianity that is about saying a prayer, asking Jesus into our hearts, or even repentence. Salvation is not the goal, it is the beginning! A relationship with Jesus is one that radically canges every aspect of our lives. Why would we present a simplified, reproducible message that avoids talking about the fullness and beauty (and indeed, difficulties) of living as redeemed people in a fallen world?
Filed under:Christianity, Evangelism