I’ve got an affinity for hearing things wrong. Usually when my family and I go through a drive-thru, I stop them from telling me what they want, lean back, and then tell them to proceed by telling the intercom themselves. It just cuts out the middleman (me). I’ve been known to forget it from their lips to my brain. One particular time, I was going to Dairy Queen to get shakes for all of us. My wife started to tell me what she wanted, but then her and my daughter realized the mistake they were making. So my daughter decided to go with me. “She’ll remember” we thought. As we got in line to order, I stated what I wanted and then deferred to my daughter to say what she wanted and what my wife wanted. The problem was, she forgot too. “Oh no! What did mom want?” I made an executive decision and chose what looked like a safe bet. I told my daughter that we had to give her mom the shake with confidence, as if it was what she ordered (with the hope that maybe we lucked out). The plan couldn’t have gone any better. My daughter and I exchanged side looks at each other as we took bites of our shakes, while simultaneously glancing to see if my wife noticed. She never said anything. We got it right! Or so we thought. We shared our victory with her later, only to be told that it wasn’t right, but she didn’t mind. I think she expected the worst.
This reminded me of a quote by the late Charles Spurgeon. “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” If there is ever a discipline Christans need to learn it is discernment. One of the goals that God wants us to have and that we need is to grow spiritually. The writer of Hebrews refers to spiritual growth comparing it to the food we eat and how we should grow. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Notice, too, that he states the huge benefit: being able to distinguish good from evil. So we can know good from evil, right from wrong, sin from not sin.
Now this brings me to what I see in church that must be corrected (for some) and taught by all. It has to do with our soteriology (our doctrine and teaching of salvation). If what the church says and teaches about salvation does not include a wrecking of the spirit that comes from a recognition of sin leading to death, then it is incomplete. If our teaching on salvation does not teach people that there should be an undeniable understanding that they need Jesus and His work He did on the cross for us, then it is wrong. At best, it is almost right. It is incomplete. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “For the wages of sin is death…” They need to come to this point and understand it in their heart, before they get to the remedy. “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I’m fearful that there too many out there that haven’t truly made this decision, or understood salvation clearly. All I know is that I don’t want anyone to hear those fearful words, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Church, we must speak the whole truth of salvation. We can’t take a shot and hope for the best. Almost right is not good enough.