The church of America has left the track! I don’t know exactly when it happened but very few are noticing the debris left behind from this derailment.
I have come to realize that a very important foundation of the church seems to have collapsed. In this collapse, the church is heading down a path that doesn’t save souls into God’s Kingdom for all eternity.
Let me try to explain.
I’ve spent my years of ministry with elderly people. If you have noticed the average age of those who attend church is not young.
So, I spend a lot of time talking with older people about their religion and beliefs.
One of the major points that seems to always come up is their lack of assurance. This lack of assurance is the debris field left by a church that has derailed.
Somewhere along the line of time the church began to focus on teaching people how to live life. They used the Word of God, and a great deal of preaching and teaching, to set up all kinds of rules, laws and principles to live by. This is not wrong but if you get this teaching and training out of the order in which it should be taught, you have derailed the train.
Let me get a little deeper.
It seems that today’s church wants to sanctify people’s lives. They want to make people holy and right in the way they live. This is good but it doesn’t work.
See, the Holy Spirit given from God makes people right and holy. The church does not save and therefore cannot sanctify anyone. The church must lead people to Christ who saves, and then He pours out His Holy Spirit so that a person will be sanctified.
So, what is missing in this church movement is the very foundation of a person’s assurance. People are trying to live a righteous and holy life following all the ways of the church appearing to be sanctified without ever being justified by God.
Most people think that if they try hard and look good they will be acceptable to God. The problem is, many life-time church attenders who are near their day of departure from the earth struggle because deep inside they fear they are not right with God. They don’t know if they have been good enough or done enough to be accepted by God
See, justification is by God’s grace through our faith in Christ alone!
A person who is justified through their faith in Christ has assurance of salvation.
See, God declares us right. His gavel comes down and we are pardoned of all our sin and set free from the punishment we deserve and declared not guilty because of what Christ has done for us at the cross.
So, what I have come to witness from many life-long church attenders is that they are not justified by faith and are trying to rely upon their works to get right and live right as their salvation. The problem with this is there is no assurance in this because you will never know for sure that you have been right and good enough to be accepted by God.
What is missing is God’s declaration that they are right with Him. If a person has not been justified by God it doesn’t matter how hard they work or what service they have done, they cannot get themselves right with God apart from faith in Christ and Him alone.
This must be very difficult for people to understand because the more I talk to people about it; the more they tell me of their works, service, giving and attendance. None of which makes a person right with God. You can’t earn salvation; you can only come to Christ and receive that which He offers.
Let’s get this train back on track before more people are piled in the debris of this derailment.
Pastor Thomas R. Swain