Ever Hearing Never Understanding

This weekend I heard someone say, “The reason I come to church is to increase my chances of being saved.”  I wanted to cry.  This came from the mouth of a regular church goer.  Then I wanted to scream.  What are we doing wrong?  What are we not saying?  Have we not all heard John 3:16-17 over and over?  Are we so dull?

I have come to believe the French philosopher Henri Bergson, “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”  The wonder of God’s love, the free gift of salvation is incomprehensible to us who have been taught to believe we only get what we work for.  And so we hear.  We hear week after week (if you are in the right place) but we just don’t get it.  Jesus’ words take on real meaning.  Jesus said, “They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.”  Mark 4:12.

Back to “if we are in the right place.”  I experienced being the pastor of a congregation that ever so slowly got it.  I moved.  A new pastor came.  I returned for a visit.  They no longer knew.  It is difficult to hang on to it if one is constantly bombarded with all the things one has to do to “get ready.”  The subtly of works just sucks us back into its torture chamber.  I had a colleague who continually preached that we were “saved by relationship.”  No!  We are saved by grace.  The relationship follows as fruit.

Please, I beg of you to concentrate on the real truth of Christmas.  The baby in Bethlehem was a gift who brought us the most wonderful gift of all – Grace.

Written by Roger Bothwell on December 15, 2014

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574