And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Three of us sat at work yesterday during a slow period and discussed our beliefs and thoughts. It's been a long time since I've had that opportunity. It was not a heated discussion, nor was it out of line in any way. Three women, three different denominations of faith were represented (I will admit that two of us were raised in the same "religion"), yet all of us were in agreement on one thing: Salvation comes to sinners who repent and choose to follow Jesus! It is not inherent, nor is it guaranteed simply by the church we attend. We talked about Jesus' conception and his brothers and sisters, among other things (I was raised to believe that Jesus was an only child, that Mary had no other children). We talked about God's love.
Our brief conversation focused around the doctrines of different religions and the promises that lie within the Word of God. We discussed the sinful people we are and that no matter how hard we try, we will continue to sin until we are made new. We discussed heaven and being all together in one place, not segregated - where truly all men are created equal! And we talked about Jesus. We talked about Baptism. We talked about praising God!
Although some conversations are better left for outside of the work environment, we are, none the less, commanded to share God's love with one another. Reaching out to those we know are members of the Christian faith is often harder than witnessing to a non-believer. The non-believer is looking for something that the believer has already found. Often, discussions with others of a different "religion" tends to reveal the differences in the small, individual beliefs set forth by that particular denomination, and often that leads to arguments. It can, if one is not firmly planted in faith (as opposed to religion), become an argument needing to be won. Interpretation of the Bible (even for the learned scholars) brings about many different views. One religion says you must confess your sins to an actual person, one says you must confess it to God. When that happens, I defer (as I did many years ago) to the one place that holds the answer...the Word of God (aka - The Bible).
Our discussion reminded me that we are all God's children. We are to do our very best to convey outwardly, towards others, what we believe in our hearts. We must repent, we must profess and we must witness! Our time here grows short. The older we get, the closer we are to the end (and yes, I know, the end can and most likely will come when we are least expecting it). We are the messengers of Christ. We are his apostles now. We are tasked with the same duties as the original twelve men who followed and were taught by Jesus. Its not something that is left for the hierarchy of any church or the ordained ministers of any particular denomination...we are all bound by God's Word to share the "good news". Take every opportunity you are presented with and make it count. Share your love of Jesus with each and every person you can. Don't focus on what your differences are (because even within the same denominations there are differences) - focus on the one thing that we all, as Christians, have in common - the promise of salvation that came to us in the form of a child that very first Christmas morning. Focus on that love, and everything else will fall into place. God promised deliverance...share His promise with others!