June 25, 2024

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June 25, 2024

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Skip Heitzig: Why ‘Religious’ People Are The Hardest To Reach

Skip Heitzig

Writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul said, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthhttps://harbingersdaily.com/author/skip-heitzig/ians 6:1). Now why would he tell people who are already saved—children of God—”not to receive the grace of God in vain”? Because not everybody who goes to church is necessarily saved.

I give altar calls from time to time. And the people who respond, maybe they’re there for the first time, or maybe they’ve been there for six months, or even years. I talked to one woman who sat in church for several years before she said, “I’ve been fighting this way too long. I’m going to give my life to Christ today.” Sometimes, people think they’re saved just because they belong to a church.

Religious people are the hardest people to reach. They hold to some understanding and acknowledgment of God but nothing on a personal level, nothing too authentic. And sometimes that religion—that ritualistic shell—keeps the truth from penetrating.

My brother Bob was like that. He hid behind his religion, but he was an all-out, raging heathen. He was part of the Hell’s Angels. It’s hard to say, “Yeah, I ride for the Hell’s Angels, but I’m a believer in Christ.” Really? But he was sure. “I was baptized when I was a kid. I don’t have to worry about God.”

The hardest people to reach are the ones who don’t understand how bad off they really are. Their religion pacifies them to the point that they’re insensate to their needs.

So I think Paul was saying, “You’ve got some people among you who claim to be believers. But they’re introducing these ideas, like, ‘You’ve got to keep the laws of Moses in order to be saved.’ Don’t assume that everybody among you is saved.”

Saint Augustine, after he made a commitment to Christ, looked back on his life and admitted that for a long time it was his pride that kept him away from God. He prided himself on his intellect, his superior status. It was that pride that really kept him from being used. Martin Luther gave a similar testimony, saying, “It was the rituals, the confessional, the practice of my Catholicism that kept me shielded from a relationship with Christ.”

When you go into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the door is only a few feet tall, not like a normal-sized door. They built that in ancient times so large animals couldn’t get inside. But I think it’s perfect, because that’s how you approach Jesus. You get low. You get down. You don’t stand straight up. So Paul introduced the subject of salvation because the door to get into the kingdom of God is very low. Nobody can get in standing straight up.

In verse 2, Paul quoted Isaiah, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” And he concluded, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

If there was a medicine that instantly cured whatever ails you and you said, “Someday I’m going to take that. Until then I’ll just wallow in my pain and misery,” we would say that’s not a wise decision. Right now is always the best time to make a decision for Jesus Christ. If you’ve never taken that step, now’s the time. Some people say, “I plan to do that someday.” Well, if so, why not today?

Today is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation.


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Skip Heitzig

Writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul said, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthhttps://harbingersdaily.com/author/skip-heitzig/ians 6:1). Now why would he tell people who are already saved—children of God—”not to receive the grace of God in vain”? Because not everybody who goes to church is necessarily saved.

I give altar calls from time to time. And the people who respond, maybe they’re there for the first time, or maybe they’ve been there for six months, or even years. I talked to one woman who sat in church for several years before she said, “I’ve been fighting this way too long. I’m going to give my life to Christ today.” Sometimes, people think they’re saved just because they belong to a church.

Religious people are the hardest people to reach. They hold to some understanding and acknowledgment of God but nothing on a personal level, nothing too authentic. And sometimes that religion—that ritualistic shell—keeps the truth from penetrating.

My brother Bob was like that. He hid behind his religion, but he was an all-out, raging heathen. He was part of the Hell’s Angels. It’s hard to say, “Yeah, I ride for the Hell’s Angels, but I’m a believer in Christ.” Really? But he was sure. “I was baptized when I was a kid. I don’t have to worry about God.”

The hardest people to reach are the ones who don’t understand how bad off they really are. Their religion pacifies them to the point that they’re insensate to their needs.

So I think Paul was saying, “You’ve got some people among you who claim to be believers. But they’re introducing these ideas, like, ‘You’ve got to keep the laws of Moses in order to be saved.’ Don’t assume that everybody among you is saved.”

Saint Augustine, after he made a commitment to Christ, looked back on his life and admitted that for a long time it was his pride that kept him away from God. He prided himself on his intellect, his superior status. It was that pride that really kept him from being used. Martin Luther gave a similar testimony, saying, “It was the rituals, the confessional, the practice of my Catholicism that kept me shielded from a relationship with Christ.”

When you go into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the door is only a few feet tall, not like a normal-sized door. They built that in ancient times so large animals couldn’t get inside. But I think it’s perfect, because that’s how you approach Jesus. You get low. You get down. You don’t stand straight up. So Paul introduced the subject of salvation because the door to get into the kingdom of God is very low. Nobody can get in standing straight up.

In verse 2, Paul quoted Isaiah, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” And he concluded, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

If there was a medicine that instantly cured whatever ails you and you said, “Someday I’m going to take that. Until then I’ll just wallow in my pain and misery,” we would say that’s not a wise decision. Right now is always the best time to make a decision for Jesus Christ. If you’ve never taken that step, now’s the time. Some people say, “I plan to do that someday.” Well, if so, why not today?

Today is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation.