September 8 I Saturday
2 Corinthians 1
“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” —John 6:66
As the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14), we might expect Jesus to have been the greatest evangelist that ever lived. Yet, after a three-year ministry where He preached to tens of thousands of people, He had only 120 disciples—less than one convert a week! Some disciples even turned back after Jesus preached a particularly “hard teaching” (John 6:60). Was there a problem with His delivery? No. Jesus was simply more concerned with individuals than with numbers. He never eased up on the truth because the terms of the Christian life are non-negotiable.
Although the word “Christian” can mean a multitude of things to a multitude of people, there is only one kind of Christianity that is valid, and that is God’s kind. We do not have the freedom to pick and choose which aspects of His revelation we find attractive, disregard the parts we do not like, call it Christianity and expect it to work. Living the Christian life will only work on God’s terms. Anything else will make us religious but leave us powerless.
Imagine wanting to book a flight that left at a convenient time and had good baggage allowance, but we decided the cost was too high. We could write out a ticket ourselves with the name of the airline and the flight number on it, but if we were to present that ticket to the person at the check-in desk, we would be refused to board the plane. “I am very sorry,” the person might say, “The information may be correct, but the ticket is invalid, so you cannot travel.” We could try writing praises to the airline on the back of the ticket. We could sing, “Amazing plane, how sweet the sound, that carries a wretch like me.” The person at the check-in desk might be flattered by our compliments and songs, but no matter how much we want access to the plane, we will be denied entry because our ticket is issued by the wrong authority.
People can express all the right sentiments about the Lord Jesus, sing the “right” songs, go to the “right” church, and use all the right vocabulary, but unless they are living on God’s terms, where He has issued the “ticket” and the right conditions have been met, they will have a Christianity that does not work. They will have little consciousness of God, no experience of His power and others will not see Him active in their lives. The only Christianity that works is the one laid out in Scripture where Christ is given exclusive rights as the authority of our lives and is our strength, sufficiency and empowering.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for giving the Scriptures so I may know Your terms for the Christian life and for issuing the “ticket” in Christ for a Christianity that works.