A funny things happens on the way to the pearly gates.
Salvation isn’t fire insurance, much to the chagrin of popular opinion. It’s not a religious concept surrounded with ritual and mystery. It is a violent ripping of a soul from the kingdom of darkness, an emancipation by divine decree, the liberation of a captive to the bondage of sin and demonic deception to a new life in the world — now.
This cataclysmic event instantly seals the new believer in the Spirit. He has instant access to the throne of the Creator of everything; he has the power of the God Word available; he inherits all the rights of citizenship in the heavenly realm; he stands clean and pure and innocent before the judgment seat of the Almighty. What more could he need? What in the world could we teach him that the all-knowing Spirit of the Living Lord downloads into him in a single, redemptive moment?
Doesn’t it border on the arrogant to assume that the Spirit left something out and needs us to step in to fill in the gaps? Isn’t it approaching the blasphemous for us to tell folks that they aren’t ready to be workers in the Kingdom until they’ve been through our curriculum?
The only difference between a 10-minute old new believer and the old “geezer” in Jesus is maturity. The empowerment is the same; they both have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead coursing through them. Maturity is obtained through experience, not through learning. Training in a vacuum where the hard, difficult decisions do not have to be made and where the persistent and powerful strength of temptation is an abstract does not produce maturity. Putting your hands on the plow, getting them dirty –experience– produces maturity.
Our lives should be spent learning what it is that we already have, what we received at that cataclysmic salvation experience, not sitting on the sidelines until we are “adequately” prepared to become a harvest worker or well-versed in spiritual military tactics. The church is producing consumers, not participants. Shame on us!
Am I against learning? Heavens-to-Betsy, no! Can you figure out why?