To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:16
You’re at a party and you strike up a conversation with someone you haven’t met before. In the process you share briefly about a hardship you recently went through and how the Lord brought you through to a new realization. The person you’re talking to is genuinely interested and asks other questions to probe your experience more deeply. Later on, in another conversation with someone else, you share something similar and this time, the person gets fidgety, starts looking around the room and excuses himself as he finds someone else he needs to talk to. You might have an idea what’s going on here.
There are two camps of people in the world and knowing this helps cut through a lot of confusion. Rather than a plethora of religions and non-religions in the world among which Christianity happens to be one, Christianity is not essentially a religion. It behaves like a religion at times. You can run statistics on it like a religion. But true Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ and there is simply no category to put that in. So there are really only two kinds of people in the world as described here: those who are being saved and those who are perishing, and we don’t ultimately know who’s who, nor do we have to.
The important thing about these designations is they indicate a process toward an ultimate destination which is not necessarily clear for anyone. There are people who are perishing who would say they are Christians, and people who are being saved who would say they are not. You just don’t know, and that is a good thing because it allows us to treat everyone the same.
Stay away from anything that puts faith on the basis of right and wrong. Unfortunately that has been a popular apologetic for some time, i.e. proving Christianity is right by proving everything else wrong. But the zero-sum game goes nowhere and forces you to be right 100% of the time, which, of course, is impossible. It also only creates division. People of other religions and none are right about a lot of things. We would get a lot farther down the road if we found out what we could agree on rather than just disagree. You might actually take a few steps toward having someone consider looking into Jesus Christ.
The world is not wrong as much as it is lost. People are either being saved or they are perishing and there’s no way to know the outcome now. The hardest nut can still be cracked.
At this point in the game, we really don’t know who is who, and it’s a great relief to know that we don’t have to know. We simply love people, agree when we can, and help people get closer to understanding the grace of God as we tell our own story of receiving that grace for ourselves and extend it to them.
“Death and doom” or “a life-giving perfume” … “who is adequate for such a task as this?” I’m not; I don’t think you are; but there’s this Holy Spirit in us, and I’m pretty sure He has a lot to do with the fragrance and the response.
The 21 Day Challenge
— Day Four —
“Death and doom” or “a life-giving perfume”
2 Corinthians, Chapter 2:15-16
2 Corinthians, Chapter 2: 15 -16
15. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
16. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?
John’s favorite one-liner was offered within his Catch today: “The world is not wrong as much as it is lost.” He went on to say,
“Stay away from anything that puts faith on the basis of right and wrong. Unfortunately that has been a popular apologetic for some time, i.e. proving Christianity is right by proving everything else wrong. But the zero-sum game goes nowhere and forces you to be right 100% of the time, which, of course, is impossible. It also only creates division. People of other religions and none are right about a lot of things. We would get a lot farther down the road if we found out what we could agree on rather than just disagree. You might actually take a few steps toward having someone consider looking into Jesus Christ.”
Recognize there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to most questions found within this session below. Rather, the questions are asked to get us thinking and asking more questions. Your answers are meant to help you reflect on your own understandings — so don’t shoot Marti, the messenger.
- During this 21-day Challenge, what, in your opinion, is the single most reason why we were drawn together as a group?
- Do you think we are all from the same religion or do you think there are various religions represented by the many members participating in our 21-day Challenge?
- What are the differences between and the similarities of a church Christian, a non-churched Christian, and a seeker? Which would you consider yourself and are you content with that handle?
- In your opinion, is it important to insist that you are 100% right all the time? Is there a difference between being 100% right and being an extremist? If no, why? If so, why?
- Think about a militant conflict between the following groups of people:
- The Jews and the Palestinians;
- The Muslim Shiites, Kurds, and Sunni Arabs against the infidels (“the Christians and Jews);
- The Christian Crusade (Protestant Christians) and Catholicism
What are the similarities between the conflicts? (Examples: Did it bring unity; greater understanding amongst all parts; did the need to be right create a greater faith and oneness or did it cause harm and death; etc.)
6. Think about a time when you felt you were required to represent yourself as 100% right. Once you have a picture in your mind of such a time, ask yourself
- Was the need to be 100% right because it is rooted in your faith or was the need to be 100% right rooted more in your fear?
- Some have said that when we are not sure if we are 100% right we have a tendency to have to be doubly sure.
- Do you think this is true?
- Is there a time in your life when you had to be more ‘loud’ in defending your beliefs when you were not quite sure you were 100% right?
That’s all for now. We will have done our job if we caused you to ask yourself more questions than you had answers for.
We Welcome hearing your thoughts, reflections, understands, and insights.
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