radical response (chapter 7)

Happy Election Day! And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. If you want to read something really cool, check out this post by my friend Megan.

And if you want to know how I feel about politics at the moment, let’s just say I totally agree with Meg’s bold assertion that I’ve come to a place of feeling like, for me, discussing politics is, at best, a waste of time, and at worst, it’s a significant distraction from my real purpose here: going, telling, making disciples, all that Great Commission stuff.

Speaking of that Great Commission stuff, what’d you think of Chapter 7??

I’ve had several encounters lately with people who just couldn’t wrap their minds around a loving God sending people to hell. I get that, and I’ve been thinking on it quite a bit lately. And other alternatives start to sound pretty good until…

If people will go to heaven precisely because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus, then the worst thing we could do for their eternal state would be to go to them and tell them about Jesus. That would only increase their chances of going to hell! (p. 148)

And this: If we conclude that people can get to heaven apart from faith in Christ, then this would mean there is something else they can do to get to heaven… tantamount to saying to Jesus, “Thanks for what you did on the cross, but we could have gotten to God another way.” (p. 154)

No, hell doesn’t seem fair. But a lot of things God does don’t seem fair. And his unfairness goes both ways–the judgment way and the mercy and grace way. Anyway.

I love the visual of God sending servants –> servants preaching –> people hearing –> hearers believing –> believers calling on the name of the Lord –> everyone who calls getting saved.

And that the only part that could screw the whole thing up is the part about the servants (me and you) not preaching the gospel.

And maybe you’re like me, where you think (or used to think) that “preaching the gospel” is something that only super-smart, super-spiritual, missionary-ish people can do. But do you know what it really is? It’s getting to know someone who doesn’t know Christ, maybe someone who needs some physical needs met or just some love and attention. It’s giving of your heart and time and life and laughter and friendship and maybe even clothes and food to that person. Little by little, step by step.

And it’s praying God will give you an opportunity to tell that person about your relationship with Christ. And he will.

So, that “takes care” of the people in our own neighborhoods. But what about the people around the world who have never even heard of Jesus? What about the Bedouins? Back on August 6, I wrote a whole post about this quote (maybe you’re standing in line to vote and have all kinds of time to read the entire thing on your nifty little phone):

“Will we sit back and wait for some tingly feeling to go down our spines before we rise up and do what we have already been commanded to do? Will we risk everything–our comfort, our possessions, our safety, our security, our very lives–to make the gospel known among unreached people? Such rising up and such risk taking are the unavoidable results of a life that is radically abandoned to Jesus.”

Rising up?? Risking everything?? Gulp.

What in the world are we supposed to do with this chapter, friends??

14 thoughts on “radical response (chapter 7)

  1. Lori @ The Davidson Den

    In answer to your final question, I seriously. do not know. I’m at a loss. I read your “stuff” post as well. And I’m SO with you!! (I’ve written a “stuff” post or two myself!! Ha!) I feel like I’ve got some major struggles ahead of me as I wrestle through what I’m reading, learning, and hearing from God. So much to do, so many people to tell, SO not sure how I should go about it…

  2. erin

    Gulp is right… talk about convicting. It’s so easy to get so caught up in talking about life and temporal things that we forget what life is really about.

  3. sandee

    You said: “It’s getting to know someone who doesn’t know Christ, maybe someone who needs some physical needs met or just some love and attention. It’s giving of your heart and time and life and laughter and friendship and maybe even clothes and food to that person. Little by little, step by step.And it’s praying God will give you an opportunity to tell that person about your relationship with Christ. And he will.”

    It made my heart ache…and my eyes water. Maybe I am just making this too hard. (as you will see when you read my post)

  4. Stephanie your sister

    Gulping here, too.

    I was behind in my reading the past couple weeks, but what a chapter to jump back into.

    I think it makes it easier to agree with the hell stuff when there isn’t anyone really close to me that has died without knowing Christ, or that is even still alive now. I don’t understand that kind of pain and confusion.

  5. Melissa Tally

    Having a very hard time. I’m behind in my Radical readings, but slowly and surely I will finish. Yesterday a dear friend of the family passed away. I don’t know how to tell my 5 year old with Asperger’s and his brothers (3 &1). For a while I have really struggled with the mentality of ‘he went forward as a child and was baptized’ so everyone believes he was saved. Several peoples funerals over the last several years have been about their childhood faith, yet as adults and even very mature people I have seen no evidence of a relationship with Christ. I don’t want to tell my kids that ‘oh he’s in heaven’ just to comfort them. What if we are wrong? What if we are lying to ourselves and our kids?

    1. Leigh

      Melissa, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I think you’re wrestling with something we all wrestle with. My cousin died very suddenly 8 years ago at the age of 23. I had no clue whether he believed or not. What I’ve chosen to believe is that we do not know what happens in a person’s final moments. I worked in hospice for 5 years and have witnessed many homegoings. People in the active dying state are generally unresponsive, while they make sense of their life and possibly come to terms with God. Whether a person accepted Christ during their life or whether it happened in the moments before they died, it is comforting to think everyone will have an opportunity. I might be wrong or just trying to comfort myself but if the person has died, I can’t do anything to change their lack of faith either. I hope that helps you in figuring out what to tell your kids.

  6. Addie

    -Hell is fair, and God doesnt send us there…. we would go to Hell even if Jesus didnt come… what is gracious and merciful is that God sent us a free way out by actually sending Jesus. (so thankfully we dont have a fair God)

    – we preach God/Jesus every day whether we like it or not, whether we “evangelize” or not, people are watching when you call yourself a “Christian”… its just that sometimes we dont preach Him correctly and people believe it

  7. Jennifer

    It’s not a popular idea, but hell IS entirely fair. We are so far removed from the holiness of God in our natural sinful selves that we don’t deserve mercy or neutrality either one. We’re born enemies of God because we are born with a sinful nature, and justice (which is fair!) from God is that we are banished from His holiness forever.

    But you’re entirely right about mercy not being fair. And contrasted with what we deserve and are born into — THAT’S what makes the grace of God so entirely amazing!

    Just my thoughts…

  8. Natalie

    Gulping along with you, Marla! Thanks for the reminder that befriending and ministering to the unbeliever right here in our own backyard is going and telling, too!

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