I just read a great article on why a transformed life is not proof of salvation that I highly recommend to all DefCon readers. It is well thought-out, well-written, and can be found here at Better Than Sacrifice.
Here’s an excerpt:
The seed which fell upon stony ground appeared to burst into life – it ‘immediately sprang up’. Why? ‘Because there was no depth’. Far from the immediate flourishing of growth being an indicator of eventual fruit, that growth was caused by the seed falling upon unprepared ground. This is sobering; the implication is that a quick conversion – an abundance of early growth – might very well prove to be ill-grounded. . . . The seed which fell on stony ground is likened to one who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet there is no depth there, no true understanding of what has been declared.
If this is sometimes the case with those who hear the true Word of the Kingdom, properly proclaimed, how plainly this exposes the dangers of our modern watered-down presentations of man’s sinful state. Rather than risk offending people by telling them of the wrath of a holy and just God toward sinners, we instead talk of having ‘made mistakes’ and ‘messed up our lives’. Instead of warning of the coming judgement, we tell people that God loves them, omitting any mention of His holiness and justice. Rather than call sinners to repent, we entice them with the offer of a better, more abundant life.
And thus we emasculate the Gospel, robbing it of its majesty and power. For if God is not angry with sinners, the punishment of His Son in their place on the cross can make no sense. Truly, it is this kind of diluted evangelism that results in false converts, lacking depth and with no understanding of the amazing grace that has been poured out upon sinners through the cross of Jesus Christ.
The Church’s task is not to make the Gospel palatable to unbelievers. It is to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ so clearly that the offence of the Gospel – Christ crucified in our place, the just suffering for the unjust – is plain to everyone who hears.
Our message should be such that it is impossible for anyone to accept, except the Holy Spirit be at work supernaturally in people’s lives. The Church is charged with preaching the Law in all its severity to frighten comfortable sinners, and then to comfort frightened sinners with the Gospel.