A couple of days ago, I received an email from a long-time friend of my family. My mother had shown him a couple of the blog entries from this site written by her favorite (and only) son. He commented that he enjoyed reading them but wanted to know if I wrote on “non-moral or secular” issues. This is a recurring theme that I have encountered in America today where many people say it’s okay to be religious or spiritual but leave all religion at the church pew on Sundays. We might get discouraged if we hear this from an unbeliever, but this has been said by Christians too. This lie has been fed to believers by the spoon full for many years inside the church. Being a follower of Christ in this world is subject to ridicule, scorn and hatred. The words of Jesus are still true even in our day when He said: “Don’t be surprised if the world hates you, they hated me first.” Since we are followers of Christ and our identity is found in him now, the way we look at life is different than our neighbor.
Former Dutch Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper, who was also an influential figure in our modern day apologetic movement, said the following, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch that Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is Mine.’”
In our modern day America, we’ve replaced the image of the holy, gracious and loving God with a golden calf of our own man-made design, such as promoting “Purpose Driven” lives while saying “Becoming A Better You” loudly and boldly or turning our faith into a hip new trend that is called “emergent.” It may look like these new developments in the name of Christ should alarm us, but I believe there is a stronger issue at hand. The bigger issue is the fact that we are all sinners who are in need of a Savior, but even more foundational, we also lack an understanding of the doctrine of God. People today are quick to acknowledge God’s existence or that He is either loving or filled with wrath. The trouble arises when we scale down the mighty Alpha and Omega, who created the world by His powerful word, to a Santa Claus figure who rewards those who help themselves. Without a proper understanding of the doctrine of God, we can be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Christians. In a sense we can separate our “church” self from our “cul-de-sac” self. The call to follow Jesus does not mean also creating our own “elite” community or creating a distant city on a hill. Rather, we must remember how change happens. Change comes first and foremost inside our own hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit; then we can help others. He will help us remove the log in our eye sockets before talking with our fellow man about the speck in their eyes.
Let us not forget that the story of Jesus dying and crushing the tomb speaks to us when we are driving in rush hour traffic, when we meet our in-laws for the first time, when the Lord gives us power to flee temptation at the workplace, or in the music we listen to. Once we take our eyes off our sinless Lord and onto our sinful selves, we begin to lose perspective. Isn’t it ironic that we admit God being powerful on Sundays but when we get a flat tire on Monday, we forget?
I realized that after I wrote this that I used the word “we” very much. I am not placing myself on a higher level of thought or think that God thinks of me greater than those I previously mentioned. I must remind myself of everything that I have written above, because I am not free from Adam’s curse and God still chose to send His son for all of my sins. These are all words that need of being impressed upon my heart and mind for all of my days, lest I become a hypocrite and forget who is controlling the course of history.
Martin Luther, 16th century reformer and agitator was once asked by one of the people in his church why every Sunday that he preached the story of Jesus living, dying and coming back to life. The parishioner was very insistent that they all knew the story and needed to move on from hearing this story. Luther (probably after having a couple of pints) replied, “Well, because week after week you forget it, because week after week you walk in here looking like a people who don’t believe the gospel. And until you walk in looking like people who are truly liberated by the truth of the gospel, I’m going to continue to preach it to you.” We all are in need of remembering what Jesus has, continues and will do, because it affects not only this life, but in the life to come.