by Ray Yungen
If you have read A Time of Departing, the book I wrote about contemplative spirituality, and are left wondering about your relationship with God, remember that knowing Jesus Christ is not merely religion or spirituality but is rather a personal relationship with Him.
Romans 10:2 speaks of those who have a “zeal for God but not according to knowledge.” Many contemplative writers describe a spiritual despondency they suffer before turning to mystical prayer as a remedy, and consequently they have an acute sense of spiritual failure that propels them into the waiting arms of the silence. In contrast, the Gospel presents a plan that is uniquely initiated by God.
Scripture clearly states that salvation depends entirely on the grace of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8, 9). Furthermore, Christ’s death on the Cross for our sins, fully solidifies in our minds a tangible expression of the unearned and undeserved nature of our salvation. When Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30), He proclaimed in three words that our salvation depends entirely on the finished work of Christ on the Cross.
Let me therefore caution you in following any teaching that suggests that Christ’s work was incomplete or unnecessary, or that there are other paths to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Christianity is uniquely different from all religions in that it does not contain the erroneous premise that man is basically good (or divine) and consequently can earn his way to Heaven.
If you have never found the peace of knowing Christ, I urge you to read the first five chapters of the book of Romans and allow the Holy Spirit to draw you to what is being said and offered. The only prerequisite is to recognize your inability as a sinner to save yourself. Then, in simple faith, tell God you are now trusting Christ, and Him alone, to be your Lord and Savior.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2) (excerpt from A Time of Departing – if you have not read this book and cannot afford to buy a copy, please let us know, and we will send you one (for international: if you can pay for postage, we can send you one) – it is vital to understand why contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation) is a spiritual belief system that is contrary to Scripture and the Gospel and yet is rapidly being infused into countless evangelical churches, universities and colleges, seminaries, youth organizations, and ministries.)