In a recent Bible Society publication (Eternity, Spring, 2020, p10) a challenge was issued to use only five words to state why you are (still) a Christian. Those who responded submitted deeply thought-provoking responses guided by their own individual situation. Given the ‘sound bite’ world in which we live it got me thinking about how critical the words are that we use to discuss our faith, in such a crowded space.
How do we share the gospel when there are so many messages thrust at people every day, all competing for their attention? Research tells us that most people now only read the subject line of emails! If you haven’t captured the person’s attention in a few words they will not read further.
This is not a new phenomenon, but it is certainly heightened living in the ‘information age’ where there is a danger of an information overload, leading us to disregard things that are important.
Apostle Paul encountered a city of distractions at Ephesus on his second mission journey. The trade city on the Western coast of Asia Minor had a 25,000-seat amphitheatre along with many gymnasiums, public baths, and other cultural distractions. There was also the Temple of Artemis (or Diana, her Roman name) ranked as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was in this environment that Paul taught in the synagogue (Acts Ch. 18) but by the time he left the city was in a state of confusion and did not know who to listen to (Acts Ch. 19).
The above text was written by Apostle Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome a number of years later. He wrote it as a circular epistle to the Ephesians and the Christians in Asia to encourage their ongoing commitment to answer the call the Lord had made to them through him. His confinement in Rome served to underline his message that those who hear and answer the call of Christ are free, regardless of their situation. Thirty-five times in the letter Paul reminds the believers of their newfound freedom from the price of sin by exhorting them to remain ‘in Christ’.
The five words to summarise the good news of Christ’s salvation;
SAVED by GRACE through FAITH.