Tuesday, January 16

Infringing on Salvation?

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' --Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)


These words from Jesus are particularly tough to absorb. At first they seem to contradict the prophet Joel's assertion in Chapter 2 that "all who call on the name of the lord will be saved." How can anyone even hope to be saved if calling on Jesus' name isn't good enough? Why is it that Jesus calls certain people "evildoers" when they are doing what appears to be good things, such as driving out demons and performing miracles?

A recent, and unfortunate, circumstance provided me with an interesting point of view on this. I learned that some of my copyrighted material was being used in the internet community at large. For the record, I do not permit my devotionals to be posted to any and every website that claims to have Christian ties. Although I know it is important to see that God's Word is spread faithfully to all who will hear, I believe I also have an obligation to apply discernment as to where the most fertile grounds may lie for seed planting.

In dealing with this problem of copyright infringement, I saw that many of the violators were sincere in their own approach to ministry. They did not know the specific rules pertaining to copyright; they just assumed that as long as they kept my byline attached to the work, that was the same as giving me proper credit. Unfortunately, this is not so. I appreciate being properly credited as the author, but this doesn't eliminate the fact that copyright law was violated. They were not using my work in a manner consistent with my personal mission statement. This could have easily been avoided if they had simply contacted me for permission.

When people merely claim Jesus' name but do not actively allow God's will and look for the Holy Spirit's influence in their lives, they are essentially infringing on Jesus' name. They overlook the work He did on the cross, and fail to live humbly in response to the gift of salvation. These are the people whom Jesus will say he never knew, for truly they are the people who never gave him more than a passing glance as they glimpsed the cross.

Jesus is not a byline in our lives. I hope I am never guilty of something as evil as infringing on his life-saving work.

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