Last night I had two great surprises. One was when an out of town student was able to come. She lives over an hour away and doesn’t make it often. So last night was a treat.
We talked at length last night about the requirements for being a Christian. I love this talk for teens because it is usually an affirmation of their faith. I always approach this question with the verse from Romans 10:9 – “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NLT). So we call Jesus savior because he saves us by grace through the justification of our sins. We also call him Lord because we are expected to follow him and through sanctification. Both of these things are what the Bible describes as saving faith. We talked about faith, a right relationship and obedience.
The last word usually trips teens up. They know just like anyone one that they aren’t perfectly obedient. So they question their faith. I just happens that I am working on an article about teaching obedience, so we dove right into this paradox. How does is escape the church’s perspective that all of the things that make us a Christian pale against experiencing God’s love?
I had never thought about it explicitly, but last night I wondered about this. We had an infant baptism yesterday morning. I love those, because it is also a reaffirmation of our faith. I also grew up in the Baptist church and have a certain affinity for immersion and believer’s baptism. Never have I heard in either situation a call to experiencing God’s love as vital to our faith.
Here’s where I land the ship. Yes, we need salvation, and yes we need obedience. I don’t think those are in question here, but why isn’t the love of Christ stressed in our vows and continually through our discipleship afterwards? Isn’t it through Jesus’ love that we learn to obey? I think that the appeal to our hearts is clear through the Bible. With all the teaching lately about the need to engage our hearts, I hope the future of the church includes teaching the necessity of God’s love.