All ye in come free

Religious people are accused of harping on fire, brimstone and damnation. They don’t usually. It’s rare to hear about such subjects in most religious gatherings. After all, talking about hell makes church people uncomfortable too, unless you’re talking about people going there whom they don’t know. They may believe in hell, theoretically, but it’s extremely rare to find anybody willing to apply such warnings to themselves. Everybody listening thinks they are already “in.”

Is there such a thing as false conversion, the belief that you are “in” with God when you are not yet? What about the unrepentant mass murderer who repeated a “sinner’s prayer” at the urging of his Vacation Bible School teacher in second grade? It’s easy to imagine that something didn’t quite “take” in his heart, something that might have prevented his crimes. But what have you done to secure your salvation that he didn’t do at age seven? If conversion never sufficiently changes your life, how do you ever know it’s real? Is the grace of God like a weightless, odorless, colorless, massless gas that cannot be sensed?

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