Summary: Don't give up your hope in Christ, because He is your only hope. Don't risk punishment by quitting. Don't waste your pain by quitting, and don't miss the promise by quitting.
On a drizzly Saturday afternoon three years ago (early 2015), seven people gathered around a high-top table at Busboys and Poets, a restaurant in Washington D.C. They were united by a single cause: to chuck it all. It was the inaugural meeting of The Quitter Club. Tagline: “Let’s give up on our dreams… together!”
The founder of the club, Justin Cannon, had quit all sorts of things – filmmaking, music, graphic design, college, fashion. He’d pursue a dream, self-doubt would kick in, and then he’d quit, always feeling like a failure. At a filmmakers’ gathering in February 2015, Cannon expressed his growing exasperation. “I was like, ‘We should have a group where people want to give up on their dreams.’ I was making a joke,” he recalls. “But somebody said, ‘You know, that’s a really good idea.’”
A few days later, he took action. He signed up for a Meetup organizer account online and posted the notice for his new group. He thought he might be forming a club of one, but within 48 hours, 35 people signed up. Out of those 35, seven showed up at the first meeting.
One was ready to cast aside her long-held ambition to become an actress. Same deal for a would-be writer. Another was ready to quit Washington D.C. altogether.
The hodgepodge group of strangers were drawn together by the same invite that read: “Most of us have something special we’d like to do with our lives. Often this Holy Grail does us more harm than good; costing valuable time, resources and relationships … At the Quitters’ Club… we can help each other stomp out the brush fires set in our hearts and get on with our lives.”
Strange thing was as they gathered to talk about quitting, they ended up encouraging each other to keep on going. (Ellen McCarthy, “The Quitters Club: Let's Give Up on Our Dreams Together,” The Washington Post, 3-25-15; www.PreachingToday.com)
Does anyone here feel like joining the Quitters Club? It’s easy to do especially when life gets hard, but I wouldn’t recommend it, because quitting can make life even harder.
If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Hebrews 10, Hebrews 10, where the Holy Spirit addresses a group of people getting ready to give up on following Christ, giving them reasons not to quit.
Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (ESV)
Don’t give up your hope in Christ, because He is your only hope of avoiding God’s judgment. Besides Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, there is no other sacrifice for deliberate sin. The Old Testament sacrifices covered only unintentional sins, those sins committed by accident or in ignorance (Numbers 15:22-29). Those who sinned intentionally, or deliberately, were “cut off”, or put to death, usually by stoning (Numbers 15:29-36).
Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (ESV)
Deliberate disobedience was a capital offense under the Old Testament Law, which no sacrifice would cover. So, if you give up your faith in Christ, there is no way to take care of your sin, not in the Jewish religion or any other religion.
Ravi Zacharias, in his book Faith Among Secular Gods, shares the story about a conversation he had with a young Muslim Palestinian:
They were sitting in a coffee shop in Jerusalem and the young Muslim spoke in soft tones. He mentioned to Ravi that he had observed a conversation between a leading Muslim sheikh and a Christian missionary named Brother Andrew. The sheikh had recently ordered the killing of eight Israelis because the Israelis had killed four Palestinians whom they had accused of crimes against the Jewish people. Brother Andrew asked the sheikh, “Who appointed you judge and jury and gave you the authority to order such killings?”
The sheikh replied, “I am not the judge and jury. I am merely an instrument of God's justice.”
There was a moment of silence and then Brother Andrew asked, “What place is there, then, for forgiveness?”
The sheikh replied, “Forgiveness is only for those who deserve it.”
Now there was a real protracted silence. The young Palestinian said to Ravi, “I thought at once, this explains everything and nothing. If forgiveness is merited, then it's not really forgiveness, is it? But I remained silent,” the young Muslim said, “because I saw two completely different worldviews at work, both with a common starting point about God, but with radically different views of God.” (Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods, FaithWords, 2017, www.PreachingToday.com)
You see, in Christianity, God forgives those who don’t deserve it, because Jesus paid the price for their sins on the cross. In Islam, and in all other religions, forgiveness is only possible if you made a mistake and your violation was unintentional, or if you could somehow pay for your sin and earn forgiveness.