Make It a No Doubter

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

-Romans 8:9

Do you belong to Christ? That becomes the most critical question for every human being to answer. As we’ve studied Romans together, I hope that the weight of that question continues to be rightly used of God for each of us. This question often gets focused down to a request, a desperate plea to “pray a prayer.” As the ideas for this week’s blog where finally taking form in my head, I heard the news that Billy Graham passed from this life. I know that his ministry has at times come under fire because of his focus on “decisionism” and maybe rightly so. From the outside looking in, this seemed to be the overall thrust of an “evangelistic campaign.” What gets missed is the reality that months (sometimes years) in advance local churches were asked to pray for the events and to be trained to do the imperative work of discipling those who “prayed the prayer.”

Far from a critique or rebuke of Billy Graham or those who came to know the saving work of Jesus through his ministry or one similar, my point is to drive home his point. Billy Graham wouldn’t let you or anyone else live under the notion that merely repeating a few words in prayer makes a person belong to Christ. He would press the issue. He always preached new birth. Regeneration. That salvation is God’s work. His hope was that by presenting the gospel plainly and giving a clear opportunity for response, some would come to belong to Christ. The question is not however a once only matter. It is one we answer with our lives. If the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, it will make you alive in ways that are demonstrable.

One of the most difficult duties I have is to preform funerals. But, there are those funerals where it’s a ‘no doubter.’ The person’s life was so impacted by the Spirit, so full of His divine life and energy that there is no doubt this is one who belonged to Christ. Conversely, one of my deepest dreads is how to handle well a person whose life leaves ambiguity about their salvation. Thankfully, this is not my responsibility in the final sense. I’ve often said that I feel certain I will be surprised by who is in heaven and who is not. God makes the final decision. But, the salvation we are given in Jesus is certainly for living. Do you have a moment when you know for certain you made a decision to belong to Christ? Wonderful. Now go and live a life of Spirit empowered obedience that makes it obvious.

Wondering about your salvation? Here is a great place to start: http://ph-cma.org/follow-christ/

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

– Billy Graham

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