There are many lies floating about Christendom today and some are more dangerous than others. From the ever popular ‘everyone goes to heaven eventually,’ to ‘Jesus couldn’t be the only way, there must be more,’ to ‘there is no hell so why bother,’ to ‘forms of mysticism such as transcendental meditation are an acceptable form of worship,’ these deceptions are meant to steer sincere individuals from the simplicity of the path of righteousness and away from the light of truth.
Wide ranging as these deceptions may be, there is one deception which overshadows them all, one I have dubbed ‘the lie of the age,’ and it is one growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. If one takes the time to trace some of the other deceptions back to their source, one discovers that many of them are rooted in the lie of the age, having their genesis therein.
So what is the lie of the age?
Quite simply, the lie of the age is that one can have salvation without the subsequent transformation.
‘Come as you are, leave as you came,’ is a popular mantra, one being spouted by many a man behind many a pulpit, but it doesn’t make it true, or Scriptural.
Throughout the New Testament we see the implicit and explicit admonition to be transformed, renewed, and born again, having been buried with Christ and raised up with Him, that we might live as He also lives.
Salvation begets transformation in one’s life. It begets a new mind, new desires, a new way of seeing the world, and prioritizing our lives in such a way wherein our singular desire is to bring glory to God.
Once we are saved, we can’t help but desire to know the One who saved us more fully, more intimately, and on a more profound level. Once we are saved, we can’t help but desire to be more like Jesus, walking in His ways, upholding His truths, and obeying His word.
‘But what about the thief on the cross? He wasn’t transformed, he didn’t repent, and Jesus said he would be with Him in paradise that very day.’
The thief on the cross was the exception, and not the rule. I daresay, if the man had not been nailed to a tree, experiencing the last violent moments of an agonizing death, he would have been transformed by having received Jesus.
Do you honestly think that if the thief on the cross would have gotten a stay of execution and been brought down off the cross he would have continued stealing and doing evil?
Jesus knew the man’s heart, he knew the sincerity thereof, and seeing it, allowing for the circumstances they found themselves in, Jesus promised him eternity.
Jesus couldn’t very well tell the man to go and sin no more because the man was about to die. He couldn’t tell the man to go sell his possessions and give them to the poor as He did with the rich young ruler, because he was nailed to a cross, and couldn’t go anywhere.
What I’m trying to say is that assuming an exception has become the rule is a dangerous, dangerous thing.
I know a few people, especially young ones, who believe they have all the time in the world to get their lives right with God and really start living for Him. Some of the more brazen ones even say they’ll repent on their deathbeds and settle the matter that way.
The only downside to this kind of thinking is that you may never get a deathbed, you may never get the time to get your life right with God, and even if you did, you can’t manufacture sincerity. You can’t fake brokenness or repentance, because the God who sees all, sees the hearts of men and knows whether or not their proclamations come from the heart, or whether they are just a last ditch effort to avoid the hell they aren’t quite certain exists.
To believe in the possibility of salvation without transformation, is akin to believing that the seatbelt everyone demands you fasten on a plane will do anything to save your life if the plane plunges into the ocean.
A fruitless tree – whether planted in the desert or in a garden – is still a fruitless tree, and an unrepentant sinner is still an unrepentant sinner whether he spends his Sunday mornings clapping along to Christian Rock, or sitting on his couch eating cereal.
By trying to make salvation and getting into heaven easier than the Bible makes it out to be, we’ve created an entire generation that thinks itself saved simply because they waved a hand at a crusade and filled out a commitment card on their way out.
The tragedy here is that they were never told otherwise. No one spoke to them of repentance, of righteousness, of holiness unto God, or of being transformed by the power of the Word. Such things would have been deemed offensive and counterproductive to the air of tolerance and all-inclusiveness the folks putting on the meetings wanted to project.
And so, never having established their faith in Jesus, never having been transformed by the power of Christ, these souls call themselves Christians, live like the world, and bring wholesale shame to the household of faith.
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.