Promises and Secrets

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The Three C's

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Once people believe in Christ, most settle into what I call "the Three C's". Most become committed, comfortable, and then complacent. That is not a good thing.

FACT



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Not a FACT?

Usually there is a statement in the FACT box above on which most people on either side of a particular issue can agree. This article is an opinion commentary that, by its nature, will upset people on one particular side. There are no facts that we can state that will be recognized by people on both sides of the issue. However, I will present facts that are not seen by all as facts. So, let's start with definitions so that we are all proceeding with the same understanding of what is actually being said.

Committed

The Christian commitment is basically entered with the thought to achieve a final goal of salvation. This commitment is important. When people decide to "believe", they have been convinced that Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven are real and do, in fact, determine our eventual fate. There are many variations of the focus of their beliefs, some commit to follow Jesus and ignore the Father, some commit to try to follow Both, and some will follow only the Father. The focus of commitment is based on the presentation of the person or persons who presented the arguments that convinced them to believe in the first place.

Once the commitment is made to find salvation, the first problem everyone faces is a lack of knowledge about how to honor that commitment. How do you follow Christ? How do you follow God? Where do you get a description of the steps and the path to follow? The most common place people seek information is the pastor of the church that convinced them of the importance of the commitment. As odd as it sounds, this is usually the worst place to start.

If you make a commitment to pursue any goal or take on a task, you want that goal or task to be a step toward the final destination. For the Christian, the ultimate goal is to eventually live forever with Jesus and His Father. This is where the problem of knowledge rears its ugly head. Most churches forget to make sure that the path they steer people toward is in line with the Bible. That requires knowledge about what it says about how to achieve the intended goal. The Bible has some extremely important stipulations about the right path and how to stay on it, but these stipulations are ignored by a vast majority of today's churches. Yes, really.

For the biggest example, you cannot mix paganism with your worship of God (Deuteronomy 12:3-4,30-31
3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. 4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. (Deut 12:3-4)

30 and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same." 31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:30-31)

, Deuteronomy 18:9
9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.

, and Jeremiah 10:2
2 This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.

).

This knowledge should alert people to look at the practices of their own churches and see if any of them violate these commands of God. But, who would look at a trusted church expecting to find activities against God? The practices of most churches have traditions that go directly against His commands, but they have been doing them for so long that they have become "traditions". That does not make them Godly. Jesus spoke of this in Mark 7:9
9And he continued, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"

. Look around your church and see if you can spot any of the dozens of pagan traditions practiced by nearly every church that calls itself Christian. If you have trouble finding any, take a look at the page called Pagan Christianity? for some hints.

Remember the commitment you made to follow Jesus and His Father? You can't do that if you are being disobedient from the first step toward the path. Most people start by following the traditions of their chosen church. However, these traditions usually lead to the second of the Three C's - Comfort. Your pastor will have made them a part of the church practices because "everyone is doing it, and they have been doing so for centuries". But, if it is not in line with the will of God... (Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

).

Comfortable

Once you become familiar with the traditions of your church, you relax into the routines and most rarely ever think of them again. This is easy to do if you just follow the crowd without investigating. If you go to church on Sunday, the next time you get to the parking lot, look around. Everything you see from that point on until you get back into your car and drive away from that lot is from paganism. Buildings, pulpit, pews, everything. In fact, if you go to church on Sunday, and did not keep God's Sabbath day holy (pagans call it Saturday, after Saturn), you are following another pagan tradition of keeping a day not ever made holy.

Of course, once you are inside, what you hear of the true gospel is not from paganism, but the method of the sermon delivery, the order of the services, including worship music, is all from paganism. You are worshiping God, but in the way of the pagans - exactly as He said not to do.

If you doubt this, look it up on your favorite source (hopefully, one from outside your church doctrine). If you have been attending this church for some time, you have become comfortable with these practices. When was the last time you questioned anything done in your congregation? Have you ever investigated whether or not it is in God's will? Once you have become comfortable with the practices, you invite the presence of the third of the Three C's - Complacency.

Complacency

This one is the worst of the three. The word complacency has a definition that includes something that most people don't think about. Merriam-Webster defines it this way:

com-pla-cen-cy (kum-play-sen-see)

plural complacencies
Definition of complacency
1 : self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous.

2 : an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction

Notice the "unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies" in definition 1. It means that, if you are complacent but outside the will of God, you are in trouble already, you just don't know it yet.

Based on the commands of God ignored by church traditions, there are dangers involved in the disobedience that results in actions that are not in the will of the Father. Most people deny that these dangers even exist because "I have Jesus in my heart" or "Jesus will save me no matter what I do now". This is a perfect example of a strong belief in an un-Biblical principle, as confirmed by John 5:14
14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."

. Just because Jesus healed someone does not mean that they are immune to further consequences of their own actions. We have already mentioned above a quote from Jesus that denies this kind of attitude in Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

. What else can that mean?

But, the pastors of today have convinced their congregations that they are no longer required to do anything because they have already been saved. This kind of statement contradicts Paul's words in Philippians 3:12
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

and Hebrews 9:28
28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

, as well as Peter's in 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

. Even Paul did not assume that he had already been saved, but knew that his salvation would come with Jesus if he pressed on in the path.

Actually, there is nothing you can do to gain salvation except commit yourself to Jesus, but there is a lot you can do to lose it or not even gain it in the first place. We are not saved until Jesus returns, so all of our actions while we claim to be Christians will determine whether we are really "waiting for Him" or are doing things our way instead of God's way. Today's church traditions are not God's way. Yes, even your church.

Summary

Commitment to a cause can be good or bad. Commitment to robbing a bank is bad. Commitment to follow Jesus is good. Committing to Jesus, but dishonoring the Father is a contradiction in itself and therefore bad. Not knowing that you are in error does not help you (Matthew 23:15
15Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

). Check it out before you commit to something that will cost you in the long run.

Comfort is fine if you are comfortable in the will of God. The will of God is specified throughout the Bible, and is a very narrow path. Most people are not comfortable on a narrow path and use the name of Jesus only as a pass to stray from the path with supposed impunity. Following Jesus is the cause of a lot of discomfort (1 Timothy 3:12
12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

). Make sure your comfort is in the knowledge of coming salvation, not in the "comfort" of this life.

Complacency is never good. Thinking that you are safe in the Lord while actively disobeying His commands is complacency. This is also known as being comfortable with sin. We never want to be complacent.

When you commit to the Lord, try not to get too comfortable, and never get complacent. We are grafted in if we truly believe and commit, but remember Romans 11:20-22
20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

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