Thursday, October 10, 2013

Needs, Wants, Faith, and Christ

All you need is love.

Believe in Christ, and you will be saved.

Simple enough, huh?

Yes, the basic Gospel is, technically, all we need.  However, if that's all you want, then you probably don't have what you need.

If you love Christ, won't you love what He says?  Maybe it won't come naturally or easily all of the time, and we'll rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and encourage us in His ways.  But He instructs us to love Him, and that there is nothing we can do to earn His love.  So you think that's a pretty cool proposition:  we love Him because He first loved us.  Period.

Rock on, dude.  I've got my fire insurance, and I still pretty much get to go do whatever I want.  Grace is awesome!

Which, of course, isn't the correct take-away from receiving salvation.  We know there are those decrees like the Ten Commandments, and the sins like getting drunk, and the do-unto-others stuff.  But we can agree that those rules are for our reciprocal benefit, and it's not like we don't have a lot of leeway in how we live the other parts of our life.

Which, if you think about it, may be the clue to tell you that you don't quite have what you need.  Because... Whose life is it now?  Who purchased your life?

If it strikes you as negative, or punitive, or fundamentalist, or legalistic, or flat-out wrong to consider the idea that Christ expects certain things from His followers, then do you understand what belief in Christ is?

Besides, if you don't do things simply because they're on a list in the Bible, how is that indicative of a loving relationship?  And if we do things because we think we're supposed to do them, how is that any better when it comes to sustaining a loving relationship?  Shouldn't the motivation for why we do or don't do certain things come from more than some holy decree?

There's a term called "lordship salvation" that some Christians use to describe the role that Christ expects to have in the lives of each of His believers.  Basically, when He claims us for Himself, we are to make Him lord of our life.  It's a concept against which many of us Americans particularly struggle, since our culture is so self-focused, performance-based, rewards-driven, and independence-minded.  Control is our goal, which makes charity something we dispense on our terms.

Frankly, it's one reason many evangelicals are struggling with the political situation in our country these days, just like left-wing liberals are.  It's not just that evil is making itself particularly obvious in many areas of society.  We mistakenly tend see the enemy as being in the form of opposite political parties, opposite lifestyles, and opposite belief systems.  We determine progress based on what we can achieve, how much control we have over policy, and how little we have to give up in order to get what we want.  We may not care about what other people think, or how many people support us, but belligerently acting on our morality doesn't necessarily mean we're being moral.

Especially if we're to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  And still love God even more.

If Christ is the Lord of my life, then how tightly should I hold my life?  Through Whose perspective should I be interested in seeing the world?  With what document should I be basing decisions and advocating for good?  Who gets to decide what is good, anyway?

We're to "seek first" Christ's Kingdom - and His is a monarchy, by the way, not a democratic republic.  Sometimes we forget that.  Not that we shouldn't advocate for righteousness in our society and at the ballot box.  It's just that sometimes, Christ's righteousness can be different than our definition of it.  If, in our lives, efforts, desires, objectives, votes, prayers, and devotion, God is not the Purpose for, Method through which, and Recipient of commendation, then what is He?

Well, He's still love, no matter what we do or think.  But to the extent His love does not shine through us, how indicative might that be regarding our trust in Him?

1 comment:

  1. I'm reminded of the old apothegm: 'Either He is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.'


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