Heaven is a great selling point for salvation, but it’s the wrong selling point. The love of Jesus is.
23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.
Here’s how salvation should go:
- Jesus prompts a person to ask questions about spiritual things. There’s an interest.
- As those questions are answered, the person feels drawn to Jesus.
- At a given point, that person receives Christ as his Savior and Lord, along with a pledge of obedience.
- The person begins to walk with Jesus as a new creation in Christ.
Let’s take these four steps apart:
- Many times, the questions come as accusatory remarks. There may be a lot of hurt behind the question, like, “Why did God kill my father?” We must always assume that the question is real and the person is seeking an answer, something that he can believe. The answer is, “God didn’t kill your father; sin did. Maybe not his personal sin, but sin in general has caused all people to die. The result is evident in our world. God loves your dad, and He grieves with you as you grieve.”
- As we talk to him about how much Jesus loves him, we stress that Jesus wants a personal, ongoing relationship with him. This relationship begins with him recognizing Jesus as Lord, King of the Universe, and pledging his life to Him. The idea of Jesus being our personal Guide through this world needs to appeal to him.
- The realization of our inability to make good choices in life because we are subjective (living in it) enables us to trust Jesus for His leadership. The more we trust Him, the more trustworthy He becomes, and the more trustworthy He becomes, the more we trust Him. The person’s willingness for Jesus to transform him from the inside out is big. If a person wants Jesus, he will have to give Him all rights and all controls to his life.
- A mentor is a great idea for a young follower of Jesus. We can explain the fellowship we share with Christ in everyday life, teaching him what happened when he was adopted into the family, when he was reborn, and how Christ is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus (who is God). We want to be like Him in character. It is this desire that reveals the heart of the person.
If we explain that hell is not having a relationship with Jesus and that heaven is having a relationship with Jesus, the person begins to understand that we are already living in one or the other. The step beyond this life is nothing but a continuation of our everyday life. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this kind of salvation?!
Abba, it is Your desire that all people come to You. You offer so much to us that it’s impossible to grasp it all: the forgiveness of sin, the presence of Jesus, the fellowship with the Spirit, Your guidance through this world, the promise of eternal life with You…and these just scratch the surface! May you continue to lead us into all truth, Lord. We will be diligent searchers for Your truth. Amen.