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Salvation is a gift
This the time of the year I spend most of my days hunting in the barn. I’ve enjoyed the past several years so much, I have added another barn, at another location, and have started turning it into Barndominium West. It’s only has the basics at the moment, but over the next few years I will personalize it. Hopefully, it will provide as many good memories as my original. I know I’ll see a few bucks from this new perch and the view will be enough to keep me from being bored when none are around. At Barndominium East, I’m watching several bucks, but only one that I’m really interested in. I discovered him on my trail camera and am waiting for him to show up during shooting hours. He will in the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll get the first chance at him before the neighbors do. If not, I’ll celebrate with them. Speaking of celebrating, this is also the time of year I get to celebrate others’ success. During rifle season I get to take a few youngsters. Either of my barns make an excellent atmosphere for them to comfortably hunt. I’m one that doesn’t want to make it too hard on them. I want them to become life-long hunters. As they get older, they will decide how determined and extreme they want to become as deer hunters. My opportunity is just to introduce them to the possibilities. After all, it’s not really supposed to be hard. We make it that way – I make it that way, when I decide to wait on one particular deer, instead of taking what is in front of me.
“Making it too hard” is a battle many Christians have had as well when it comes to the expectation of other’s faith. Many people, unfortunately, have taken the simplicity of grace and attached unnecessary baggage to it. They have added things never meant to be added. They have taken the work of the Spirit and made it their work. Fortunately, we have an illustration in the Bible. It was the new Jewish Christians who were concerned that the new gentile Christians were not doing enough. They believed they should be circumcised as well as follow many of the Jewish laws that described God’s chosen children. When this suggestion was brought to counsel, Peter was the first to remind the Jewish people that they were asking these new gentile Christians to do what they themselves were not even able to do. And James, the brother of Jesus, settled the matter when he concluded, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19 NIV) Let me ask you something, fellow believer. Are you making it too difficult for people to come to Jesus? Are you adding law to grace? Don’t let your culture, your upbringing, or your religious background add anything to grace. When we do that, we make salvation a goal and not a gift.
■ Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations.