Context

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Just something I’ve been thinking about lately — most of the New Testament is simply letters written to people who are already followers of Jesus. Some contain words of encouragement, others are words of warning, a few contain admonitions of correction, and still others have messages of advice.

So, I’m thinking –  most of the New Testament was written to people who have previously committed their lives to Jesus! If that’s the case, then the writers are not instructing people what to do in order to obtain salvation — because they are writing to people who are already saved. That takes a little bit of time to wrap your head around. Some of the most familiar verses used to teach people the plan of salvation are not directed to people who are being taught the gospel.  Does that sound like it could be a context issue?

It would be like me trying to show someone the steps to get a Bachelors Degree by quoting from a speech at a ten year college reunion when someone is reminding people how important it was that their elementary teacher taught them how to read. Can you see the folly in that? “Well Tim, in order to get that degree, all you need to do is sit down with a book and sound out every word.”

First, that was not the intent of the original message. Second, we frequently recall the first step of a journey and give it the same significance as the entire prize. Could these sentences be taken out of context? “Eating healthy is what made me a pro baseball player.” Or, “I have a great marriage, so glad we exchanged phone numbers.”

So, when talking to people who don’t see Jesus as their king, is it logical to focus on sharing parts of the Bible with them that were not really written with them in mind? I think not. I think it makes more sense to share Jesus with them and His teachings — that will either move them or not.

Ultimately, I’m concerned that there may be a lot of people out there who follow a religion, or belong to church, or live in a system called Christianity — who actually don’t follow, belong to, or live in Jesus.

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