Monday, September 6, 2010

Counting the Cost...

It is a never-ending source of amazement and amusement to me that the more I learn about The Bible, and listen to people, especially of my (Baby Boomer) generation talk about religion, the more I realize that most folks, sadly, have NO clue about the essential and unique Christian message. Cultural noise and the political correctness of our generation, specifically has obscured Christ's message to a profuound degree.

Most often, these days, the message of our salvation in Jesus Christ is distorted in one of two ways. TV Evangelists, Pentecostals, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventiss etc. insist that we must "make a decision" for Christ in order to be saved or that we need to "do something" to bring about the judgement day. They represent the right wing of contemporary Christianity and, while I believe many of them are indeed saved (only God knows for sure who is elected to salvation, their works-righteous theology represents a heresy that leads many astray from Christianity by causing confusion and alienation. When these works-righteous folks are caught in sin, as we all are, folks say, "see, Christianity is hypocritical or it doesn't "work".

We are saved by our faith alone, which comes to us as a free gift from God in the blood sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ on the cross.

More dangerous and more en vogue among folks of my generation and "psychographic" background (old hippies, for lack of a better term), is this confused, unitarian, universal concept that "love" is most important thing. As if indoctrinated directly from the 1967 Beatles hit, "All You Need is Love", these dear, well meaning but frighteningly misguided peers of mine, believe and have properly observed that all religions share the same basic legal precepts, the same "law", that is summed up in the universal maxim, "love your brother".

But "love your brother" extends to tolerating, indeed celebrating all religions equally for the universalist and Christ, the saving Messiah, the Lamb of God, The Gospel, is marginalized, paid lip service to, but in the most important way, left out of the equation altogether or His countenance is distorted into that of a pacifist, Ghandi-like or guru type figure. This is just as pleasing to Satan as a world filled with only with hate would be.

Christ was NOT a pacifist. See blog below.

Satan loves high, idealistic morality, as long as The Gospel of Jesus Christ is left out of the equation in any truthful meaningful way.

Faith is not "seeking" or trying to "figure out" what form of "spirituality" "makes sense" from a logical, moralistic perspective. Faith is the passive acceptance and (only as a consequence) the ensuing deep study and living of what is yours already, the free gift of salvation unto eternal life from a loving God who sacrificed his only Son that it should be so, in spite of our sinful nature.

Those who say they are "spiritually seeking" are most likely wandering in the wilderness.

The Good News (Gospel literally translates as "Good News")

We are not capable of "out-sinning" God or of "loving" each other enough to please God. The love and good works displayed by Christians are an outgrowth of their faith, not the other way around. No sin is so great that we are not forgiven in Christ for it nor so small that we are not condemned by it.

"Civic righteousness" is certainly a good thing, but it will not get you into heaven. Only saving faith in Christ will do that.

This Sunday, Pastor Lassman preached on Luke 14:1-14. "When you give a feast, invite the poor, crippled, the lame and the blind. because they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

What Christ did NOT mean is that we should become like the blind, crippled, lame, destitute, unsaved as Univerlists do when the worship in harmony with Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. We should not become destitute and worship the alienation of the forsaken as Charles Bukowski might, "knee walking" onto a greyhound bus headed for desitution.

The Great Commission commands, "go and make disciples of all nations". It does not say "go and become disciples of all nations".

The universalist mandate is an even more distressing heresy than the decision theology of the Jimmy Swaggarts of the world in that it apologized for Christ in deference to contemporary political correctness. Universalists typically seek out all kinds of esoteric, contemporary writiings by academics about scripture.

One such writer who is enjoying some vogue, claims the early church "left out" a "plethora" of scriptural writings on reincarnation. The universalist implication being, of course, that "christianity" is not really far off from Hinduism and other sects which espouse reincarnation.

Christ is very specific, reapeatedly throughout scripture that, "I am the Truth, the Way the Light" and that "Nobody comes to The Father except through me". And, "what of sorcers, soothsayers [spirtualists/spirituality] and the rest?"

"You serve but one master", says the Christ, Our Lord.

Finally, what, then of us? Aren't people basically good? Wouldn't a kind, loving God let us into heaven if we are just basically good people? The problem is, we are not. Any honest assessment of self falls way below the standard set by the ten commandments. "We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have no loved God with our whole heart".

The bad and good news is (good for Christians and, sadly, bad for others is...

A committed disciple of Jesus Christ sees him/herself for what he or she is: a poor, miserable sinner. And what could be better news for a poor miserable sinner than God’s love and forgiveness in his Son? How can we not love Him who loved us? How can we not pick up our cross for the one who picked up his cross for us? How can we not give up everything for the one who gave up everything for us?