Mainly I refrain from social and political commentary here, but ice skating really annoys me.
First, if you are a professing Christian and you watch men’s figure skating, you need to repent. Present day men’s figure skating is just flat out sin.
Second, the hubbub over the Canadian skater who skated two days after her mom died bugged me too. Christianity Today, of all places, sums up my thoughts better than I could:
” , , , we don’t like to be confronted with the emotions of a grieving person, so we expect the bereaved to function as if nothing had ever happened. It used to be that when someone died in Christian societies, the normal activities of life stopped.”
It used to be that people didn’t participate in Olympics on Sundays, now we do two days after our mom dies. I’m no fan of legalistic sabbath-keeping, but I am a fan of respect.
That is all.
Self-help has overrun Christian thinking. We’ve replaced Biblical teaching with 8 ways to improve your marriage and 5 ways to pay off the mortgage for Jesus.
This has led to biblical illiteracy amongst professed Christians. Incidentally, it has not seemed to help professed Christians’ marriages or finances either. Go figure.
The real problem is that we’ve cancelled out one of the central tenets of Biblical Faith: regeneration.
Professed Christians are not remotely aware of the fact that they can have new life in Christ. To the extent they are aware of this, they chalk it up to mind games, vision coaching or something. “Think happy Jesus thoughts and you will become a happy Jesus.”
Regeneration is a literal fact and act. You are buried with Christ: old man is crucified with Christ. Dead. Gone. Dealt with. You are raised up to newness of life with Christ. Alive. Present. New.
We are partakers of the divine nature, says Peter. We have all things that pertain to life and godliness because God’s divine power has given them to us.
This is not mind games. This is reality. In Christ you are new. You are strengthened, made alive and empowered to live godly. I understand that our flesh is corrupt, in it dwells no good thing.
But don’t stop there in your masochistic drivelly sorrow! In Christ you are new! Able to please God! Made to do good works!
Christ is powerful enough to save you; He’s powerful enough to sanctify you and change you progressively into the image of Christ from glory to glory. Believe it, reckon it true and act on it.
“The hard sayings of our Lord are wholesome to those only who find them hard.”
–C. S. Lewis
I found that quote yesterday and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, except when I went to check if our septic tank was clogged again, then I didn’t think about it. I thought about other things.
It amazes me how often and easily we chuck parts of Scripture because we’ve come to our conclusion on them long ago. We know that part, yah, yah, yah, give me something fresh.
Romans 7 is a hard passage, it just is. Yet I’ve heard so many people flippantly dismiss it, give their answer, and deride you as an immature, carnal Christian for not having equally dismissed it.
We have our systems and flow charts in how to handily dismiss stuff that bugs us. We all have passages that bug us. Those who continue to see them as hard will benefit from them. Those who think they are easy and already answered, will not.
All that being said, there is a time for a sure answer, for a resolution of thinking on a passage. But beware the puffing up of knowledge. It’s always good to review, re-examine where we are in our minds with passages we “figured out back in college.”
In yesterday’s post I said, “The Law is not the issue; your interpretation of it is!” I’m writing this post one minute after writing that line.
I know that many will respond, “The Law is too the issue! It’s what kills me, it’s what Christ had to abolish for me.”
Yes and no.
There has never been a problem with the Law. It is a revelation of God’s righteousness, therefore, Paul says it is “holy, just and good.” Paul’s problem with the Law was not the Law, it was himself, “I am carnal, sold under sin.”
In our current age we feel it imperative to bash the Law. I suggest we be careful with this. The Law was added to codify our sin, to let us know what it is, and yes, it did stir us up to sin.
However, that’s not a problem with the Law–it’s a problem WITH US! Therefore, I will persist in my statement that “The Law is not the issue; your interpretation of it is!”
I will stick with it also because it’s exactly what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:8, “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.” In other words, the Law is not the problem, our interpretation and use of it is.
A point I touched on in yesterday’s sermon:
Logically speaking, the opposite of legalism is license. People trapped in legalism often flip-out and go after license–everything goes, let ‘er rip, baby. They will then get upset if you tell them what to do, or point out a commandment of Scripture. “You can’t tell me what to do, that’s legalism!”
However, passages like Galatians 5 teach us that the acceptable alternative to legalism is not license. Believers are still restrained, but not by legalism.
Biblically speaking, the opposite of legalism is love.
Legalism is defined as “a hyper-strict interpretation of a law.” Frequently it misses the point of the law and merely carries it out in the cold deadness of the letter.
Like when you tell your son to apologize for throwing a ball at his sister’s face and he glumly says “I’m sorry” and gives no proof of any sincerity whatsoever. That’s legalism–“I’ll do it cuz you said so but I don’t really want to.” No love there at all.
The opposite of this approach is to actually get the point of the law. Paul tells us that the point of the law is LOVE. Therefore, legalism misses the point; Love nails the point. The Law is not the issue; your interpretation of it is!
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
I beg you to listen to my sermon from today. It addresses a fundamental error in evangelical churches. It shows a link between Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, circumcision, infant baptism and “the sinner’s prayer.”
It addresses Galatians 4:21-5:14. It will bore you to tears for half an hour, and then I drop the hammer. I beg you, please, listen and work with me.
There are two basic views of Christianity in the professing church:
1) Christianity reforms, improves, teaches and helps Self succeed. Christ died on the cross so you could be you, only better.
2) Christianity does away with Self. Christ died on the cross and you died with Him, it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.
Type 1 Christianity is no Christianity at all. It’s self-help with Jesus tacked on. It does not see the suffering and death of Christ as payment for sin, but as an ugly episode on the way to helping God make you all you can be.
Type 2 Christianity is what the Bible teaches. This is it. This is what the whole Bible is about–the getting rid of you and the elevation of the glory of God in Christ Jesus.
Don’t play around with pseudo-Christianity. Take the real deal or quit playing the game. At the point of salvation YOU ARE DONE! This is bad news for your flesh nature; this is complete victory for the Spiritual Man.