The church in America desperately needs a reformation. Where do reformations begin? Romans 12:2 encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Perhaps, in this Age of Reason, we need a reformation in the way we think.

We have gotten lazy with our thinking. We trust our thinking way too much. Those of us that teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

I grew up in church hearing about “Jesus’ substitutionary death”.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the longest time, I assumed this meant that He died so I wouldn’t have to. Fortunately, God encouraged me to ask someone to disciple me. He introduced me to Romans 6:8:

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…

And Luke 9:23.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

And Mark 8:35:

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Obviously, there is something more to His death than I – and many like me – were taught. Many have no clue that to live abundantly in Christ requires our own death. Tragically, there is no one discipling them.

Making disciples (like Jesus made disciples) has gone out of vogue in most churches today. There is plenty of teaching and preaching, but no one seems to be following – diligently – the prescription Jesus left us.

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21

“Go therefore  and make disciples…” Matthew 28:19

I was reading a commentary the other day, when I came across this comment: “Blood is a reference to Christ’s death as a substitute sacrifice for us.”

I am not saying it’s wrong, but think about that statement from a new believer’s perspective. What conclusions might you draw? How about, “I don’t have to sacrifice anything. Jesus did it for me.” How then does that person respond to Jesus’ contention that we have to say goodbye to everything (Luke 14:33)? What are they to do with Romans 12:1?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

There is a popular Christian song that repeats the phrase, “Come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide.” If I didn’t know better, I would think this is an invitation to come watch Jesus be sacrificed so I can enter the Father’s love. There is no mention of our getting on the altar with Jesus. There is no mention of our sacrifice.

Are these the half-truths that are being communicated to those in your spheres of influence? I strongly encourage you to find out. The consequences are devastating.

What happens when a sacrifice is asked or required of them? How might they respond? Will they be confused, aggravated or incensed? In light of Romans 8:17, what happens if they refuse to make the sacrifice?

…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

God bless you with the wisdom and courage to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Humbly yours and forever His,