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Jesus is a Savior who saves “to the uttermost.” Heb 7:25. He is able to save anyone, no matter who they are or what they have done. At the same time, Jesus has taught that the way of salvation is narrow and illustrates this serious truth repeatedly in His parables: Many think they are Christians when they are not, many never become Christians even though they want to, and many Christians have their joy eclipsed or do not endure unto the end.
These warnings, taken to heart and understood, are full of hope. They uncover the most common obstacles that keep the soul from Christ, and by knowing and avoiding those errors, the soul can walk the path of Christ, though there be pitfalls on the right hand and on the left.
And there are many who long for such guidance. In the book Evangelism, Ellen White wrote that
“There are many who want to know what they must do to be saved. They want a plain and clear explanation of the steps requisite in conversion and there should not a sermon be given unless a portion of that discourse is to especially make plain the way that sinners may come to Christ and be saved.” Ev 188.
So what are these most common mistakes? Some of them can be found in Ellen White’s classic Steps to Christ. We decided to group those mistakes she says “many” make into a series entitled “Pitfalls of Christianity”. They are given in brief below:
|1. What is repentance?||“Many . . . think that they cannot come to Christ unless they first repent, and that repentance prepares for the forgiveness of sins.” SC 26.|
|2. “I’m not good enough”||“How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ.” SC 31.|
|3. “I’ll choose God when it’s more convenient”||“Many are quieting a troubled conscience with the thought that they can change a course of evil when they choose.” SC 33.|
|4. A merely intellectual religion||“Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed.” SC 35.|
|5. Incomplete surrender to God||“The inquiry of many a proud heart is, “Why need I go in penitence and humiliation before I can have the assurance of my acceptance with God?” SC 46.|
|6. Desiring but not deciding to be a Christian||“Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” SC 47.|
|7. “Jesus can’t forgive me”||“Here is where thousands fail: They do not believe that Jesus pardons them personally, individually.” SC 52.|
|8. “I have to do something on my own”||“Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone.” SC 69.|
|9. “I’m not talented enough to serve God”||“Many have excused themselves from rendering their gifts to the service of Christ because others were possessed of superior endowments and advantages.” SC 82.|
|10. Failing to find happiness in God||“If we would but fully believe . . . we should then enjoy a rest of soul to which many have long been strangers.” SC 86.|
|11. Doubts and skepticism||“Many . . . are at times troubled with the suggestions of skepticism.” SC 105.|
|12. “I’ve messed up”||“Many . . . dwell upon their mistakes and failures and disappointments, and their hearts are filled with grief and discouragement.” SC 116.|
|13. Not considering the struggles of others||“There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil.” SC 120.|
We have asked different writers to write on each topic. They will illustrate from the Bible how each error obscures a step to Christ, and how the pitfall can be avoided or overcome so that the believer may firmly take each step towards Christ. These articles will be posted monthly, starting next month. We hope that this devotional series may be a ray of light that will help many to find Christ.
The author is the editor of the GYC Europe website.