There are “levels”, y’know…

“Levels”, Shrek?

Levels.

“Levels of what? Is this like that “layers” thing?”

Levels of Belief, donkey.

Belief. You mean belief…

“In Christ, yes. Belief in Christ.”

“So, is this like onion layers, or parfait layers, Shrek?”

“What? Who cares? It’s about layers of belief in Christ, donkey!”

“Yeah, but are these good layers, like in a parfait? Or smelly layers, like an onion? That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

<sigh> “I suppose that depends which layer you’re a part of, donkey.

<puzzled look, head turned sideways>  “I don’t understand.”

“You see, donkey, someone becomes a Christian by praying to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, by admitting and repenting of their sins, and by welcoming the Holy Spirit into their soul.”

“Right, right, and then they’re a Christian.”

“Yes, basically. But it depends on what they DO with that that determines what layer they’re in.”

<puzzled look, head turned sideways>  “I still don’t get it.”

<sigh> “It’s simple, donkey. Just because you accept Christ as your Savior doesn’t mean you’re going to obey everything the Holy Spirit nudges you to do. And just because you accept Christ doesn’t mean you’re good about going to church or reading your Bible, and so you may not know what God’s already provided you for instruction and guidelines for Godly living. And if you won’t follow the basics of what every Christian should do and be, God’s not about to use you for anything deeper.

“Oooooohhhhh…..” <nodding> “I get it – I think… So there’s a layer of Christians who don’t obey, and a layer who do, right?”

“Wellllll, that’s a start.”

“A start? What else IS there?”

“Donkey. think about it! There are gonna be folks who kinda obey what they know about the Bible, and there are gonna be those who don’t seem to know much at all about how they’re s’posed to act. In fact, there are those who don’t let the Spirit make any changes in them at all, and they’re the ones Jesus talked about in Matthew 25 who didn’t care for the poor, for the needy, for the sick and the homeless and all the people who needed their help – and they end up not even making it to Heaven in the end.”

Wait a minute, Shrek! How can there be Christians who don’t go to Heaven? Isn’t that what being a “Christian” means?”

“Yeah, technically, I’m playing with the words a bit. Those people who don’t end up goin’ta Heaven aren’t really Christians at all, but they probably think they are – right up to that last moment in front of Jesus. Right, donkey?”

“Aaaaahhh, I get you, I get you… You mean that part where Jesus says “Depart from Me,” and they ask “Didn’t we preach in Your Name, and do miracles in Your Name?”, and Jesus says, “I never knew you,” and casts them into the lava that surrounds the castle…”

“No, that would be our story, donkey. But yeah, that’s the idea. And on the other side of the tale, there are layers – AAGH! – levels of Christianity among the believers who are trying to obey. You’ve got Christians who toe the line, doing everything they’re told to do except go out and make disciples…”

“Aaaaaaannnnnd that’s bad?”

“Oh, it’s only the last thing Christ told us to do, now, innit? And then you go another level up, and you’ve got the folks who do all of it, and above that there’s folks who do tremendous work for the Lord.”

<nodding thoughtfully> “Uh-huh, uh-huh…”

<pause>

“Where’d you get that from, Shrek? Sounds like something Farquard would make up to keep the fairy-tale creatures from invading his southern border.”

“It’s Biblical, donkey! Jesus said our “reward is great in Heaven” if “others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account” in Matthew 5:11-12; Paul said in First Corinthians 3:10-14 that if we help build the foundation by which others are saved, then we “will receive a reward”. Here, listen to what he says in his second letter to them, chapter 5, verses 9 and 10…”

“Ewww, you keep a Bible in your underpants? That’s nasty, Shrek!”

“Mind your own business, donkey! It says here, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

“Well, I’ll be a gingerbread man’s uncle, Shrek! I didn’t realize you knew so much about Scripture!”

“I lived alone in the swamp for decades, donkey, and yet I did the altruistic thing and rescued princess Fiona from the castle when I could have just scared the lot of you out of my swamp, didn’t I? Of course I’ve read the Bible! What else do you think I did with all that spare time before you met me?”

“Ahhh, made earwax candles for a living?”

“That’ll do, donkey. That’ll do.”

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