by Kevin Pauley
Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the law?" He asked him. "How do you read it?" He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. "You've answered correctly," He told him. "Do this and you will live." - Luke 10:25-28 HCSB
Even if it teaches true salvation, “Cultural Christianity”, unfortunately emphasizes the first moment of decision to the point that many of its adherents are led to believe that that is all there is! That was not the Lord’s teaching at all.
Notice that the lawyer in the above verses asked how to inherit eternal life. Thus, the context is salvation. Yeshua asked him to answer his question from the law (something most so-called Christians would shudder to consider) and when the man responded with “love God-love your neighbor”, the Master agreed but said, “DO this”. Jesus taught that true love is demonstrated through ongoing action – not stopping at a one-time decision.
In this, He has shown us the way ahead: “God so loved that He gave.” True love does not mean religiosity. The lawyer was undoubtedly a religious man for he could easily quote Deuteronomy 6:5 off the top of his head. However, his religiosity and Bible memorization were not enough! Yeshua told him the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate that true love acts!
The priest and the Levite in the story were also religious. However, though both saw the victim, they passed by the other side. Religion doesn’t necessarily make us compassionate. True compassion must be cultivated in an environment of humble service.
We can say, “There is so much need. I don’t know what to do.” Do SOMETHING! Anything is better than nothing. God doesn’t steer parked cars. You get moving, serving, helping, rendering aid as best you can and the Lord God will direct your paths.
We can say “I’m too busy”, but notice that the Samaritan was on a journey. He had places to go, business to tend to. But when he saw the victim, he identified with the man and got involved. He understood that the Lord has a way of bringing what we do back on us; blessing for good, cursing for evil.
The Scriptures teach us to carry each other’s burdens, thus fulfilling the law of Christ. “Cultural Christianity” teaches that it’s all about grace and freedom now and that there is no law but love. In a sense, this is true but how it is applied makes all the difference.
Real love is hard. It’s tough and demanding. It requires time and effort on our part. The Samaritan stopped, bandaged up the victim’s wounds, put him on his animal, walked him to an inn, took care of the poor man and then arranged for ongoing care. Real love always DOES something.
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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