“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23, ESV)
There are a lot of people that cite the behavior of Christians as the primary reason they don’t believe in God. To be fair, the world has seen horrific things done in the name of Christ—not the least of which are the Crusades and the Holocaust. When Christianity became more a religion than a living faith, it morphed into something the early Church fathers would never have recognized. It should come as no surprise, then, that a “Progressive Christianity” has further bastardized not only the faith that was rediscovered in the Reformation, but also the very Son of God.
Whether denying the deity of Jesus, or denying His sacrificial death and resurrection (penal substitution), these “progressives” find deity within themselves. When they find in the Gospel a stumbling block (“but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” – 1 Corinthians 1:23, ESV), they choose to rationalize it away. Many even accuse Him of sin. They re-envision the God of the Older Testament because that god was too mean. They have experiences that reveal “the truth” about God, but their revelations contradict the Bible.
I’m no saint. I’m certain that I have probably done things that have turned people off to the Gospel. I regret many of my words and actions and the negative effect that they have had on others. I have caused pain to my Savior. Yet I accept the scriptures. I don’t discard the parts that don’t line up with the “god” of my own design. If there is a discrepancy between my beliefs and the Scriptures, I assume the problem is with me, and not the Bible.
I guess that my point in all of this is that we will all stand before the judgment seat of God, and it’s not the things we have done in the name of Jesus that are going to be the ultimate measuring stick by which we stand or fall. It has to do with knowing, and being known by God. Did we bear the name of Christ in a worthy manner? Calling oneself a Christian while denying the deity and sinless life of Jesus, or our need for penal substitution (Jesus dying in our place to bear the guilt of our sin), or even the fact that a holy and loving God would require a blood sacrifice to pay for sin, is unconscionable.
We bear the name of God well when we honor Him and His Word. We bear the name of God well when we honor not only His love, but His justice. To separate God from the scriptures, to create Him in our own image is to bear His name in vain.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels