Seeking a convenient religion?

By Robert C. Oliver - Contributing columnist

There is really no argument that we are living in a society that is enamored with keeping everything as convenient as possible. If it is not convenient, it is soon cast aside to be replaced with something a bit more time conscience, energy conscience or resource conscience. We have become a whole society of impatient people, a society that wants everything our way and we want it right now! We certainly are not opposed to things being convenient when that convenience does not have too much of a negative impact on the issue at hand.

However, often convenience comes at a price that is more expensive than expected. These expenses need to be considered and evaluated as to whether one is willing to pay the price or not. It is certainly convenient to take a can of string beans off the shelf, open them and dump them in a bowl and stick them in the microwave for a few minutes. But, compare those beans to fresh or frozen beans that have been cooked on the stove with the proper seasoning and to the proper degree of tenderness and one is able to see the price of that convenience. Such material examples of the cost of convenience are manifold and obvious. But, let us turn our attention to the realm of the spiritual and we can see that the cost of seeking a convenient religion may well be much too expensive for one of sound mind. If it cost us our soul, it cost way too much!

There is no doubt that any form of Christianity that requires nothing is not true Christianity. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). If one can go to heaven without doing something, then Jesus was either lying or mistaken, for he said that one can not do so. Now, just doing anything one wants will be of no value, for Jesus specified that which one must do is what the word of God requires of him or her. He continued by saying, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23).

The creed book of one of America’s prominent denominations states, “…Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort”. If the Bible taught salvation by faith only, it could indeed be said to be full of comfort and very convenient, for it would then require nothing of the believer. If the believer was a thief, a fornicator, a child molester or any other vile sinful thing, he would not even have to change, so long as he had faith. It does sound ridiculous when you say it that way, but that is where the “faith only” doctrine leads. The Bible clearly teaches that one must, not only hear the gospel, but believe it, repent of his sins, confess Christ and be baptized into Christ in order to be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Matt. 10:32-33; Gal. 3:26-27). It then requires one to continue faithfully following the instructions of the gospel, or as Paul expressed it, “…to walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).

There are other man-made religious bodies that toot the “impossibility of apostasy” doctrine, or “once saved, always saved”. Again, if the Bible taught this, it would be very convenient indeed. After becoming a saved person, one could go back and do all those things they had previously been doing or even worse and not put their eternal soul in jeopardy. The Hebrew writer, writing to Christians stated, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, any man fall after the same manner of unbelief” (Heb. 4:11).

God has always, in every age, required both positive and negative elements to obedience. In other words, there have been things one was not allowed to do, such as eating of one specific fruit in the garden of Eden and things that one was commanded to do, such as repentance. Disobedience of these two elements have often been described as sins of omission and sins of commission. In the day of judgment, there will be as many entering into the eternal destruction of hell for that which they did not do as for that which they did.

Let’s face it, faithfully doing the will of God is not always going to be convenient. Does anyone think that it was convenient for Noah to build the ark? Does anyone think it was convenient for Moses to lead the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage? Does anyone think it was convenient for John the Baptist to stand before Herod and denounce his adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife? Does anyone think it was convenient for Jesus Christ to go to the cross of Calvary and die for the sins of man?

Paul stated, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12). Yet, in a sense, it is good to seek a convenient religion, for it will certainly not be convenient to burn in hell for eternity which is what happens if one embraces a form of Christianity that is unscriptural. Thus, the only truly convenient Christianity is true Christianity which results in eternal life!

By Robert C. Oliver

Contributing columnist

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.