Friday, December 13, 2013

Lost and found

Why do we witness?
Is it to save people from hell and from the wrath of an angry God?

No, only Christ can save people, and hell is the fruit of mankind’s choosing—and the wrath of an angry God? Well, let the scriptures teach men of that, if they will only read.

We witness out of love for the lost, yes, we do, but also with trust in the man-loving God to move the hearts of those who are stuck, to actually create clean hearts in those who have no hearts, or whose hearts are filthy.

Love for the lost is akin to love for our own souls which we have already delivered to the foot of the Throne. We only want to share what has been bestowed on us, knowing that
outside of God, all is nothing.

Yes, we witness out of love for the lost, but only because we are driven to it by knowing what ‘lost’ really means.
‘I once was lost, but now I am found.’

To speak of people ‘going to hell’ is not part of our vocabulary, except to speak in terms of common parlance. Who can utter the words with meaning?

When we hear the mention of ‘hell’ we see the image of the Day of Judgment, whose nature and timing are known alone to God. We see the Lord separating the sheep from the goats. We hear the voice speaking, ‘Whatever you did to the least of these, you did it unto Me’ (cf., Matthew 25:40), and we tremble as we realize that the ‘lost’ we say we love are they for whom Christ died.

Our love becomes the greater. It becomes our life, not just an idea we say we believe in. We sing the song of the redeemed by our witness, and our worship is like that of holy apostle Paul, who writes, ‘the God I worship spiritually by preaching the Good News of His Son…’ (Romans 1:9).

How great is the mercy of God our Savior, the God of Israel, who makes His home among us, in our praises! And what are those praises if not our testimony that ‘God is great!’ not by His mighty power only, but by His condescension, His longsuffering love, His mercy?

And what is our testimony if not our witness, our love for those whom God places next to us, our neighbors? And how can we love those for whom Christ died? By telling them they are lost? That they are going to hell? Or by telling them the Good News that even before they knew they were sinners, Christ gave His life for them, even before they could say ‘in sins, my mother conceived me’ (Psalm 51)?

This is our witness, our testimony, our life, our love, our faith—that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst’ (1 Timothy 1:15).

No comments: