By Carey Nieuwhof: It’s not often you get a deep dive into theology on this podcast, but today, we go there with John Ortberg.
John talks about what’s wrong with how we define salvation in liberal and conservative circles, how a better understanding can change lives (including yours) and why you may not need to wait for heaven to experience more of God or the life you long for.
It’s a fascinating conversation that has implications for non-Christians, Christians, and even impacts how church leaders do altar calls.
Welcome to Episode 246 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
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3 Insights from John
1. Saints use up more grace than sinners
Many Christians view God’s grace as something only for sinners. That is just not true. God’s grace is better defined as God’s power at work within us to do what we normally can’t do on our own. The reality is that saints burn through grace like a 747 burns through Jet-Fuel.
One of the most dangerous ideologies we take on as Christians is that we must do the minimum amount required to get into heaven at the end of our lives. There is no place in the Bible that clearly states the minimum amount required to get into heaven. As a result, biblical discipleship does not easily fit with this belief system. That’s a problem.
2. The primary characteristic of heaven is to be with God
People generally think of heaven as a giant pleasure factory. Society has baked this into our minds and that has caused us to have a skewed theology of what the afterlife is really like. We think we go to heaven to feel good all the time, but heaven is actually more about being with God than it is about you feeling good.
This is critical for understanding why we as christians do what we do. We aren’t just stocking up souls in some eternal vault of fun, we are calling people into a lifestyle and afterlife that is saturated with the presence of God.
3. We might need to rethink how & why we do altar calls
When preparing to preach an altar-call, John keeps in mind that the primary thing he is calling people to do is become lifelong followers of Jesus who are devoted to doing his will. Not trying to convince people to say the magic words to get out of hell. Including a call to intentionally learn and obey Jesus’ commands with your altar call is always a good idea.
The disciples didn’t have perfect theology when they signed up to become followers of Christ. They started by following and obeying Jesus’ commands and their theology and formation came later. We should call our people to do the same. As we live for christ, his truths overtake us.
Quotes from Episode 246
Salvation isn’t about getting you into heaven, it’s about getting heaven into you. @JohnOrtbergClick To Tweet
Grace is God’s power in you to do what you cannot do on your own. @JohnOrtbergClick To Tweet
Most of us never give serious adult thought to words like heaven, hell, salvation, trusting Christ, or afterlife. We just don’t think about it. @JohnOrtbergClick To Tweet
One of the signs of spiritual maturity are the thoughts that no longer occur to you. Dallas WillardClick To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Brad Lomenick, Clay Scroggins & Carey Nieuwhof
Brad Lomenick and Clay Scroggins join Carey for this year’s roundtable on church leadership. Brad, Clay and Carey talk about church trends: what’s happening online, what part of our current models is dated, why internal culture in the church has to change and much more. This roundtable highlights key issues they’ll be discussing this May at Rethink Leadership.
Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 247.