Monday, March 07, 2005

Who Gets What?

I probably complain too much. People reading these (all two of them) may start to wonder, "why is the only thing that he writes about the modern church bad?" Well, honestly... I can try to think of things that are really good about the American church movement on a general level, but I could go for days without really finding anything. I hate being such a naysayer, but I guess I hope that someone, somewhere, might be provoked to think below the surface a bit and that change would occur -even in one person, by God's dear grace. If God happened to use something I said to help facilitate this, then I am joyous beyond words. But still -regardless of what happens- I believe God is glorified when His truth is presented. It cuts through the fog like a knife. So, anyway... blah blah. Enough about this. What is my point in this morning's blog?

Who gets what? I'll try to keep this brief. There are obviously different parts of God's Word. There are sections that deal with what we ought to be doing, and don't do. Then there are sections that deal with what Jesus did for us. Theologians usually refer to these as Law and Gospel, respectively. The problem is that our modern churches usually chop this into sections -depriving one group of one section, and depriving another group from the other. (what the heck is he talking about, right?)

It usually goes like this: if we find out someone is an unbeliever, we strive with them, hand them tracts about what Jesus did, and tailor our speech, our messages, our preaching to be "evangelistic", as we call it. This means we tell them things like "Jesus died for your sins", and "God loves you", and "God has a wonderful plan for your life" (from the dreaded Four Spiritual Laws). Then, when the church is faced with believers, the focus of our message switches to moral improvement, what God expects of us, and how to be better people. It becomes, for all intents and purposes, Law -though Law that is watered down so that its demands are not a strict as Scripture teaches and the threatenings are virtually non-existent.

The problem is that the Bible almost does something very different. Before the Gospel is given to unbelievers, they must have dealt the sternness of the Law or the Gospel will mean nothing. An example: the rich young ruler. Read the section about the rich young ruler and how Jesus spoke to the man. Imagine if someone came to our church this morning and said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" We would say, "believe these 4 things and pray and ask for it, and you have it." But notice that Jesus did the opposite. Jesus pointed the man to the Law so that his sin would be revealed to him and he would see that he cannot do anything to save himself! Similarly, to believers we give almost nothing but moral instruction, yet Paul expresses, in the beginning of his epistle to the Romans, how he longed to come to them to preach the Gospel!

Those are just two small examples. Unbelievers need to hear the Law. They need it to reveal their sin and need of a Savior. Believers need to hear the Gospel, repeatedly, for our entire Christian walk is founded upon the Gospel and walking by faith in the Savior who loved us and gave Himself for us. And when we do hear the Law, it must be in its true force. Essentially, we must preach the entire Word to both and let the Spirit work, rather than clipping pieces off to try and do the work of the Spirit.

Ahhh. Oh well. Another rant for the blog ;). How comfortable we have become with our Churchianity. Its pretty sad. I pray God wouuld send a bolt from heaven to awaken his slumbering saints to vigilance and proclamation of the whole Word of God. I know its gonna hurt, but we need it!

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