Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Here’s another quote I saw that rankled me:

I don’t wanna hear ‘well done good and faithful servant.’

I just wanna hear, “yup, you’re in.”

This one bothers me on several levels.

First, who in their right mind would say they don’t want to hear God say to them, “well done, good and faithful servant?” I mean, why would you not want to hear that?

Second, the context of this biblical phrase is instructive here (imagine that).

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
–Matthew 25:21,23

What do you notice about both passages?

Here’s what I noticed:

Every one he said “well done good and faithful servant” to, he then told them to “enter in!”

In other words, the only ones God says are “in,” are ones who were good and faithful servants!

I mean, I don’t know. There are days I wonder.

But this is typical Christianity today. People don’t think what they do matters. That salvation and subsequent living have nothing to do with each other.

There’s a sanctimony here as well. I’m too good for doing good. As long as I’m in is all that matters; I don’t need praise, and certainly not reward.

That is asinine.

I’ve heard many people talk about the selfishness and materialism of serving God for reward. That’s just dumb. The Bible says many times God wants to and will reward service. It’s not wrong to want God’s praise and reward.

Again, this is another effort to make what I do a minor issue, and yet the Bible is so consistent and repetitive on this: what we do matters.

The only ones who get in are the ones who do what God has created them to do. This isn’t rocket science. Not is it legalism, nor works righteousness, nor telling people to work themselves into salvation.

It’s the power of the Gospel to transform sinners into saints!

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
–1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Substitution and Transformation

“The foundation and focus of the Christian faith is Christ’s substitution not our transformation. In other words, the language of Christianity is primarily substitutional not transformational.”
–Tullian Tchividian

When I read this quote, my brain went “Wait, what?”

Tullian is a hip pastor with a large church in his past. He was fired from said church due to an extramarital affair. He says things like this quote above that get a lot of applause, but probably also lead to extramarital affairs.

I really don’t get the statement. I have no larger context to judge his words by. All I have is this quote. So, I’ll examine the quote.

He seems to be saying that The Gospel is all about Christ. What happens to me is at least distant second, if not almost irrelevant.

I’ll grant some truth here. Christ’s Gospel is the foundation of everything. Me changing does not save people. So, if that’s all he means, then fine.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s all he means.

I think what he means is that transformation should hardly be talked about. That any talk of transformation is probably detracting from any talk of Christ’s substitution.

Transformation is a biblical concept. It is mention a number of times. Romans 12:2 would be the primary passage no doubt–be not conformed to the world bu transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says we will be changed into the same image of Christ from glory to glory. “Changed” is the same Greek word as “transformed” in Romans 12:2. The Greek word is metamorphoo from which we get our word metamorphosis.

Galatians 4:19 says that Paul labors until Christ be formed in them. “Formed” is the Greek word morph.

Transformation is a thing. It is also implied in many passages–we are now servants of righteousness not unrighteousness, we are new creations in Christ, old things are passed away and all things are new, put off the old and put on the new, raised up to newness of life, etc.

Meanwhile, substitution is mentioned zero times in the New Testament. It is mentioned twice in Leviticus concerning animal sacrifice.

In all honesty, I don’t see the substitution of Christ mentioned much at all. Substitution means in the place of.

Yes, Christ died for us, but nowhere does it say He died in the place of us, or instead of us. What it does say is that He died for us, and by faith we were crucified, bruised, and raised up with Him. “With” is different than “instead of.”

Tullian is emphasizing what Christ did to the exclusion of anything we do. Paul doesn’t put it that way. Transformation is the only way to know you are part of what Christ did.

Granted, my transformation is not as earthly significant as what Christ did for the sins of the world, but it’s pretty big for me! It lets me know if I’m in or not.

Tullian is not alone in this emphasis. Everyone wants everything to be about Christ, with no responsibility, transformation, or anything about me. But read the New Testament! It’s talking about what you do quite frequently!

Don’t make a false dichotomy where there is none. Everything Christ did, He did for our transformation. It’s the reason there is a Gospel.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
–Titus 2:14

Moral Chimps, Sort Of, Not Really, But Still

Perhaps you saw this story the other day:

Chimpanzees can tell right from wrong: Apes’ reactions to violent video footage may give clues to how human morality evolved

Whenever evolution stories are reported on, know that the headline has almost next to nothing to do with actual findings. Also note that when a topic is covered and always appears that they’re trying too hard, something is amiss.

Bottom line: if you read the article and the actual findings, chimps have no concept of right and wrong. Here’s an analysis of the findings.

It is somewhat ironic that as our culture increasingly decides morality is nothing but bondage, we feel a need to make animals moral.

Animals aren’t moral. They do not know right and wrong. Animals may have instincts that appear moral, but they are not guided by morality, they are guided by instinct.

God has put his law in our hearts, all people have a sense of God’s right and wrong. All people have a conscience, a thing in their brain that bugs them when they do wrong, sometimes shown by guilt, sometimes by brazen flaunting.

Animals can’t violate morality, carry guilt. If they did, they would need forgiveness and thus an animal messiah to save them. Animals are breathing piles of dirt just like people. The main difference is in our morality, conscience, will, and intellect.

He Sees You When You go to Church

Some churches are very concerned about your attendance. Some are apparently hyperly-concerned and have begun to use facial recognition software to keep track!

I find this amazing.

Using a church’s video cameras, it can identify who is coming. Who cares?

I mean seriously, if you don’t actively care enough to know who is there in person, what is spying on people going to do?

This is obviously a tool for mega-churches, I understand that, but still, seriously, what is done with this information?

If I went to one of these churches I would wear a hooded sweatshirt just to mess with whoever it is keeping track. Either that or sneak out and come back in 15 times.

I don’t know people. I don’t think I belong here.

Exorcism Donkey Ride

Although American Christianity is one messed up place, it’s at least comforting to know we don’t have a monopoly on crazy. At least I think that’s comforting.

The video below shows an orthodox priest attempting to exorcise a demon possessed man by riding him like a donkey. He told the man he would ride him all the way to Jerusalem if need be.

Apparently there was no need, for by the end the rather heavy priest is standing on the flattened man. My favorite part was watching the little kid. You’re not the only one confused by all this, me dear.