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Second hand Christians
- Jacob Ninan
We can recognise a second hand sermon preached from someone else's outline even when the preacher uses all the tricks of homiletics, because there is no passion in it. Isn't it the same with most second generation Christians? The theology may be right as also the jargon and the routine. But when there is no passion, there is no zeal or earnestness about what they believe. As a result, even though they may participate in religious activities, there may be very little depth in their spiritual service. One reason for this is that they received 'faith' from their parents without having to fight their way into it or having to pay any cost for it. They take their faith for granted and do not value it much.
This happens so commonly that it is almost to be expected. Even in Christian ministries and organisations in the second generation the spiritual vision gets lost and things become routine. Perhaps second generation Christians cannot be blamed for having believing parents! The problem is that in most cases they are not aware that anything is missing.
It is the contrast between our past and the present--"I was blind, now I see. I was lost, now I am found. I was a slave to sin, but Jesus set me free."--that usually causes us to appreciate what God has done for us. In the case of many second hand Christians this element is missing, being very familiar with the gospel and also not having committed any gross sins in their lives. What one would consider as advantages have actually become hindrances! Of course the solution is not, as some people carelessly suggest, to get a taste of the world and then get properly converted. Isn't it better instead to recognise that their faith lacks something, and that they cannot be effective Christians till they have a wake up experience?
If we examine our life and find that we are really just lukewarm and not on fire for Jesus, doesn't it show that we are in a desperate situation (Re.3:15,16)? When we consider ourselves to be disciples of Jesus but do not find increasingly rich fruit from our life and ministry may that not indicate that something is lacking (Jn.15:5,6; 2Pe.1:8,9)? Perhaps when we turned to Jesus we had not seen ourselves as being desperately sinful and needing a Saviour? Perhaps we find it difficult to forgive others because we have thought of ourselves as those who deserve some favour from God (Lk.18:11,12)?
This is not meant to judge or condemn anyone, but to encourage everyone to make sure that we don't miss out on the full salvation because we made some wrong assumptions about ourselves. Our goal is not to convince other people about our salvation but to make sure that we have the genuine experience. The best way to do this is to go to God directly and place such issues before Him. We can bare our souls before Him and ask Him to clarify doubts, make things clear to us and to give us what we lack. God will answer everyone who seeks Him sincerely (Is.49:23).