I met a woman in Borders a few weeks ago. She was in the religious book section and looked like she needed assistance. I asked her if I could help her find a specific book and she volunteered in frustration that she had been going to church all her life but she didn’t know why she did anymore. She confessed that she was looking for a book, but didn’t have any idea what she wanted. Although this woman shared that she went to church it was obvious that she was disheartened about her Christian faith. I encouraged her to read Bruxy Cavey’s book, The End of Religion.
Unfortunately, many Christians never experience the “abundant life” promised by Jesus. Dallas Willard says this disparity has come about because of the “Great Omission.” Christ commanded Christians to go out into the world and make disciples of all peoples. Willard believes that discipleship is to often viewed as optional or for “Super Christians” rather than an imperative choice for all Christians. Yet Jesus called believers to follow him, to be disciples or apprentices. Being a disciple is more than just asking Christ in our life and heart, and goes far beyond baptism or our church membership. The Christian life is more than an “insurance policy” or “free ticket” to heaven or the eternal hereafter.
Others wrote about the “Great Omission” in the “Great Commission.” A.W. Tozer called it a “great heresy” and Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it “cheap grace.” The British preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say that in most Churches we hear only half the Gospel. We preach eternal salvation by grace but often fail to encourage the changed or sanctified life. A sanctified life is a life set apart as or declared holy, a consecrated life. The disciple is a student; one who follows or learns from a teacher. Discipleship is more than right thinking, it’s right living. The Christian who fails to see the value of their salvation beyond their eternal security has missed the point. Dallas Willard says, that this is like being a Christian Vampire, “I’ll have a little blood, but I want to live my life now and I’ll see you later in heaven.”