Monday, October 28, 2013

Every time you share this...

"This is a test.  If you really love God, share this with your friends and you will receive a blessing."  "Share this and you will receive a gift from God."

I get sick of those things -probably a good indicator that I spend too much time on Facebook.  But if there are a few things that really irk me about the online world we find in social media it is those fictitious stories that people keep passing around (without checking Snopes.com) and these pseudo-religious, superstitious nonsense posts that are supposed to invoke some kind of gracious disposition of God or pull down some kind of angelic response from the heavens.

It is the latter that I'm focusing on, today.  Why do I hate those things?  I hate them because they not only make Christianity (and therefore Jesus) look like something that belongs only on sentimental greeting cards, but they also unwittingly gut the Christian faith of its core essence.  What is the core essence of Christianity?  Many would say, "That God loves us."  Sure.  I would agree, but in itself that tells us nothing.  God could easily love people who would remain forever lost in their own sin, as well.  How is that good news?

The core of the Christian faith is that, though we are lost and completely incapable of finding God, and though we are incapable of covering for our sin by anything we do, and though we pridefully and foolishly imagine that if we only did enough of this and stopped doing enough of that -pulled this spiritual lever and pushed this spiritual button- we could pull down God's grace and favor from heaven, which we don't really believe we need to begin with, God did the unimaginable by doing it all for us in Jesus Christ, His Son, through His life, death, and resurrection.  For mere sinners like us, Jesus swallowed up sin and death and made a new way, a new creation, though his resurrection from the dead.

The Christian faith is not primarily advice.  It is not primarily a set of tips on how to live life best.  It is not primarily a philosophy that makes you feel more enlightened about life.  Though it contains elements of all of those things, the Christian faith is not primarily about you and what you have done or can do at all.  It is about what Jesus has done for us.

As the meme from Confessional Lutheran Meme's on Facebook above suggests, anything which calls itself Christianity and fundamentally asserts that somehow we can reign in or pull down or leverage God's grace through certain moral or religious activities is going against the heart of the Gospel.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says...

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."


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