Another question came up over the weekend, which I think falls into this week’s theme, or so it appears.
(which is very well done) just trying to learn what Lifestream is about, your passion, mission, goals, etc. Obviously the most important question in life is “how do I go to heaven?” Many ministries (and I’m not trying to classify you with “many ministries”) address such a question on their
websites. Since I didn’t encounter such information on yours, I thought I’d just ask you directly.
Actually, I don’t think “How do I get to heaven?” is the most important question. This is where I think we’ve been robbed. Jesus didn’t come just to save us to heaven… He came to rescue us out of sin and lead us into a relationship with his Father through him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, the outcome of that relationship will affect our destiny, whether we end up in heave or hell, but the primary purpose of salvation is to lead us into relationship with him. I think that is very important. If not, then we’ve got to sort out the right ‘techniques’ for salvation between sinner’s prayer, baptism, confession, etc., when the reality of these things is not in any outward act, but in the heart itself. One can go through the motions and really not surrender their lives to the living God.
Thus the proof isn’t in what steps we’ve been through, but whether those steps have actually brought us into relationship with the Living God. Do we know him and are we finding how we can live in him and be transformed by his life and power. Yes that involves repentance at a heart-level and it involves God making himself known to us and filling our lives with is presence. Peter in Acts told the crowd to repent of their sins and be baptized and they would receive the promise of the Spirit. That’s pretty good for me. I encourage people to explore who God is. When they are convinced he exists, they can surrender to him in prayer and confession and in the obedience of baptism. At that point I pray with them to be filled with the Spirit’s life and power.
If it’s all real, they begin a relationship with the Living God that will transform them. Yes, they will probably need some further help learning how to walk in a new relationship with the Lord of Glory, so I don’t mind taking that time with them. If something doesn’t awaken in them to God’s reality, we might do a bit more seeking and praying to make sure something is really happening in the heart, and not just that someone is looking for a get-out-of-hell-free card. Jesus’ invitation to salvation was to come back into right relationship with God through his work on their behalf.
Does that help? That’s about as clear as I can be in a brief email.