Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Realigning Christianity

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ who has declared His Lordship over your life, accepted His Word as the source of truth, and received His Spirit as your guide, then this post is for you...and me!

We are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that we should show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).  We have been "saved and called to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace" (2 Timothy 1:9).  We have been commissioned "to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Therefore, as God's chosen, called and commissioned people we are urged to "offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God" and are warned to "not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).  As such, our lives become His and His ways become ours.  Our hearts beat after His and His mind is in us.  Our desires are submitted to Him and His will becomes ours.  

As fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, we are to "have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8)

However, against this biblical framework of Christian faith...

There is an emerging form of Christianity where words like sacrifice, submission and service are being exchanged for a self-centred humanistic theology that seems more strongly influenced by popular opinion than being inspired by divine revelation!

  • Some Christians pursue their HAPPINESS instead of God's HOLINESS
  • Some Christians defend their RIGHTS ahead of God's RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • Some Christians place their PREFERENCES over God's PATTERN
  • Some Christians value their OPINIONS more than God's TRUTH
  • Some Christians consider EQUALITY with the world greater than SUBMISSION to God's kingdom order
  • Some Christians seek TOLERANCE of all views at the expense of OBEDIENCE to God's commands

This emerging form of Christianity unwittingly or maybe willingly flirts dangerously close to Paul's warning to Timothy:  "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3).

This emerging form of Christianity is out of alignment with the relationship Jesus demonstrated with His Father and the life He modelled to His followers.  It has created a false dichotomy between God's love and justice, compromising truth for tolerance.  Jesus, on the other hand, "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), reframed God's law and love in such a way that His justice and mercy hold together in perfect harmony.  Jesus, "full of grace and truth", redefined religion as a relationship that fully reflects God's character.  Jesus, "full of grace and truth", restored God's image in broken humanity by setting us "free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).  Jesus, "full of grace and truth", "condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4).

Grace without truth is licence to do what is right in your own eyes.  Truth without grace is legalism to enforce your version of truth.  However, to be truly Christlike, grace and truth are the incarnational posture for humility and holiness that brings Christians into full submission to the One whose name we bear.  This is the only posture where the Spirit of Christ dwells and His transforming power prevails.  Anything less makes us a "slave to the law of sin", not the law of God (Romans 7:25).

At this time, when there is so much confusion and compromise in the church, our opinions and desires as Christ followers must be fully submitted to Jesus Christ if we are ever to regain our voice as effective witnesses in the world and be the generation to fulfill the Great Commission!

No comments:

Post a Comment