Two Reasons

October 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I’ve been thinking today and wonder if I haven’t found two reasons the church in America looks like it does. Both reasons go hand in hand and seem to be becoming the norm across the nation.

The first reason is a disregard for the Word of God. For some, this is apathy period. They don’t read it, they don’t study it, and they don’t care. But they still call themselves Christians. It seems that their church membership/attendance and the menial “outreach” events they participate in are enough. While this may be a large group, I don’t think that it’s the biggest group. That moniker goes to the group made of those who “study” scripture but don’t live by it. They do read it and they do study it (even to the point of looking at Greek and Hebrew!) and yet, their lives don’t reflect that. Some even go so far as to boast and brag about their studies or look for ways to show off their quickly learned “wisdom”, but those verses have done nothing to actually impact them or change them. Scripture says “Do not lie”, but in action or deed many professing Christians do just that. Ananias and Sapphira died because of only ONE LIE. They sit under teaching that is more about social justice or community agenda (we have to knock on doors and have all these different events!) but there is nothing in the teaching to drive those same Christians to the cross or to understand themselves and others the way scripture portrays them.

The second reason dovetails with this. It is the fact that most churchgoers have no perspective of the gravity of sin. These days, “pastors” stand on stage (not in a pulpit) and talk about “errors”, “mistakes”, “blunders”, “mess ups”, and anything but sin. Sin is no longer an abomination in the eyes of most going to church. It is softsoaped into a gentle heat instead of the blasting flames of an eternal hell. Not that most of them would notice. They don’t hear about hell at church. In the eyes of God, one lie was worthy of death and hell (see above). It was also enough for God to order the destruction of an entire family for the taking of a couple of objects from Jericho.

But, the clearest picture of what God thinks of sin is the cross.

We are often taught that the cross is a place of God’s mercy and grace (and it is) but we’re seldom told why. Think about it for a minute… The eternal and sinless Son of God set aside His attributes and volunteered to be poured into a human body (a baby no less!). This is stooping to a level that no human being would ever understand, but He did it. He then spent 30 years living in subjection to parents He created, never once acting in a way that contradicted God’s will or Law. He was PERFECT in holiness, righteousness, and truth. He taught the men at the temple when He was 12 years old. At the beginning of His ministry, He was baptized by a sinful man so that He might fulfill everything and then immediately went out to the desert to be tempted of the devil. This wasn’t some low level imp…it was the fallen angel himself. And it wasn’t any temptation. It was a 40 day temptation of body, mind, and soul while Jesus was FASTING. And yet, Jesus never caved in, He never compromised for the fleeting pleasures of the world.

At the end of His ministry, this perfect, spotless, sinless man allowed Himself to be captured, mocked, spit upon, struck, beaten, flayed with whips to the edge of death (there’s a good chance you could see bones and organs when they were done), and them marched 600 YARDS to the hill outside the city. There, he was stripped down (most likely naked) and then nailed to a wooden cross. He was bleeding profusely, in severe pain (each nail pierced at least one nerve and one vein), and couldn’t breathe.

And even this wasn’t the worst part…Jesus hung on the cross for a specific reason. He was to bear the sins of men on Himself. It was on the cross that Jesus took the sins of men and this is often pitched as God’s grace and mercy without the judgment, righteousness, and holiness. Yes, it was on the cross that Jesus took the sins of men, but it was also on the cross that God judged His Son for sins that He didn’t commit. It wasn’t just one sin or a couple sins, it was a MULTITUDE of sins. He bore the sins of all those that have been, are, and will be saved; and God’s wrath was poured out FULLY on those sins. Jesus suffered the intense and focused wrath of God for all of those sins. He bore the ETERNAL punishment for those sins in a few hours. God’s wrath was so complete that He couldn’t look upon His Son. And, in the end, Christ died. His perfect, sinless life was given as a ransom for hateful, wretched, rebellious sinners.

And yet, many today don’t care. They profess the name of the spotless, sinless Lamb of God as if it’s some sort of talisman or chant that they can speak when they are in need or in trouble. They cling to a salvation that is based on a feeling (are they actually Mormons?) instead of one that’s based on a Savior. They drag His beautiful name through the mud by using it vainly and carelessly; often commanding God to give them riches or material goods “in the name of Jesus”. They make a mockery of His death by raising their hands and praising him in church while keeping a dalliance with their mistress – sin. There is no longer any grief or shame for sin. There is often no repentance or reconciliation between brethren. There are no longer any tears for those who are being devoured by their sins (both in the church and out of it).

If these are the reasons, and they are becoming the norm, is it any wonder the church is the state that its in?

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