Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Close But Not In"

"And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."  Mark 12:34

In the chapter above a scribe had come to Jesus and asked Him which was the first commandment.  Jesus answered, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." The scribe then answered Jesus by saying, "Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

After these answers back and forth Jesus then said to him our opening verse.  The part that stuck out to me and that I want to talk about this morning is the fact that we can know the truth, we can agree with what is truth and still not be part of the Kingdom of God-- saved.  This man agreed that Jesus was right.  He knew from his own knowledge of the scriptures that it is true.  But he didn't surrender to it and allow it to be received into his own life in order to bring salvation.  Jesus told him that he was "close" to the kingdom, but not "in" the kingdom.

There are a lot of people who are "close" but not "in"-- but they think they are "in".  Some think they are "in" because they believe in the existence of God. (Even the devils believe but they are not in the kingdom.)  They think they are "in" because they listen to the preacher on Sunday morning.  Or because they liked hearing a particular sermon.  Some think they are "in" because they were raised in church.  Some others think that they are "in" the kingdom (have salvation) because they are good, hard-working, decent, better than most, moral people.  

The reason this guy agreed with Jesus was because he was a scribe.  His job was to copy and recopy the scriptures in order to preserve them.  He studied the Law of Moses and taught it to the people.  He took his job very seriously.  He could tell you exactly how many letters, how many words and where the punctuation went in each passage.  He knew the scriptures forwards and backwards.  Yet Jesus told him he was "close" but not "in".  (Close is never good enough.)

We must take heed and check ourselves to see if we truly are "in" and not just assume we are because we can quote scripture, believe God is real, go to church and even agree with the truth.  We may just be thinking we are "in" and really aren't.  This man had a lot of scriptural knowledge.  But knowledge isn't what saves us-- even having correct knowledge.  What saves us is faith in Jesus Christ. 

Have a great day.  Are you just "close" to being in the kingdom, or are you actually "in" the kingdom?    

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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