2017 is a special year. This year, there will be a celebration taking place-the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In 1517, the priest and scholar Martin Luther approached the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailed a piece of paper to it containing 95 theses (his opinions on the state of the church) that would begin the Protestant Reformation.
This awakening in the faith would have as its core that the Bible is the central religious authority, that paying money so that sins could be forgiven (indulgences) was not Scriptural, and that humans receive salvation by exercising faith and not by their deeds (our salvation would not depend on how good a person we tried to be).
As part of the Protestant Reformation, there is also another fundamental teaching – the “priesthood of all believers”. Basically, this truth is that any individual who puts their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross has immediate, direct access to God. Because of the shed blood of Christ, we can come boldly to the throne of grace.
Although pastors, priests, deacons, elders, and counsellors all can help nurture our walk with God, nonetheless, we don’t need to go to any of them to pray to God, or to ask forgiveness for our sin.
So what’s my point in writing this post? If we are to truly love others (as we are supposed to) wouldn’t it make sense to talk more with each other about our common faith and inquire of each other’s spiritual condition and exhort/encourage one another? It seems fairly easy to talk about the weather or our local sports teams, but when we are in an environment where we are having a one on one conversation with someone we care about, why is it so hard to talk about God. I’m not talking about an in your face, heaven or hell conversation, but a gentle, inquiring discussion on the existence of God and what having a relationship with Him looks like.
I think we, as believers, have gotten intimidated by our culture to not bring up anything that could even potentially lead to disagreement that we have given ourselves permission to sit on the sidelines. But how fun is that? How relevant are we if that is the kind of attitude we are willing to settle for? God has something so much more significant for us than being a bench (or pew) warmer. He desires all Christ followers to have a priestly/pastoral concern for their own relationship with God and for other’s relationships with God.
Recently, two examples come to my mind to illustrate what I’m getting at:
– one is when I asked a fellow Christian man how his Bible reading was coming (and the person replied to me “so, are you my pastor now ?”) Has it come to a point that we shouldn’t even be bringing this question up to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? How tragic in light of the Biblical exhortation for us to be like iron sharpening iron.
– Another example comes from me asking a person, really a stranger, about his thoughts about God and he replied back to me “so, are you a pastor?” Mind you, he wasn’t saying it in any negative kind of way. Not at all. It was just that, at least in his experience, the only person he could imagine talking about God would be a pastor. (Isn’t it a shame that people are hearing so little “god talk” from us Christians (let alone acting as though we had convictions) that when it does happen, people think that we have to be some kind of paid pastor (whose job it is to to talk and act on spiritual things)
It’s time Christian brothers and sisters to fulfill our destiny and be expressive and excited about living and talking about our awesome God and His love and concern for humanity. As Watchman Nee would label, I think this is really the “Normal Christian Life”.
After all, are we not:
– supposed to be like “iron sharpening iron” (prov. 27:17)
– and even to our own kids: (Deut. 6:7 (esv) “you shall teach them (God’s commandments and principles) diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
– And “to exhort each other ever day as long as it’s called today that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulnes of sin (Heb. 3:14 esv). This verse tells us to be talking to each other about our relationship with God.
– In conclusion, I want to encourage us, as Christians, to step up to our calling to be salt and light in this world, and to be expressive, visible, and talkative about the awesome God we call Savior and Lord.