A new Christianity?April 10, 2008
As I look around the “Christian” landscape today, I see many very strange things. One of them is a form of Christianity I don’t find as I read the Bible. In the Bible, I see men either following God or not. Certainly men were not perfect, but in cases of personal failures you’ll find repentance and reconciliation. As I look around today, I see people claiming to follow Christ, but their lives show nothing to back up their claim. I am not talking about earning salvation, but I am talking about having fruit. I am talking about obedience to God’s Word. I am talking about living a kind of faith that matters. I am talking about following after a loving God who demands our devotion. I guess when I look around I seem to find many people who want salvation without lordship and entrance to heaven without devotion. I’m afraid that many who call themselves Christians are going to be painfully awakened to hear the words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” It is scary and very distressing to me.
A few tough questions I wrestled with this week:
Can I be a follower of Christ and not be devoted to His leadership?
What is devotion and what does it look like?
Can I be devoted without being obedient?
Is devotion legalistic?
Does a life devoted to following Christ look different than the life of a non-Christian?
These questions cause me a lot of concern, both personally and corporately. As I examine my own heart, what level of devotion does my life show? As I look around the church today, what level of devotion do I see being preached and lived? Our faith is not a faith of showing up on Sundays and placing a check mark in that box. Our faith is one of radical devotion to a radical God—the type of God who would miraculously give you a child, and then ask you to offer that child as a sacrifice, the type of God who would offer His only Son to reconcile sinful humanity to Himself, and the type of God who would offer you salvation and freedom and only require acceptance of that gift.
I have to think that acceptance of His gift will result in a life that displays true devotion to Him. As I look through the passages this week, I see an example of true devotion; one night, God tells Abraham to take Isaac, his only son, and offer him as a sacrifice. The next morning Abraham takes Isaac and heads out for the mountains. Wait! Did Abraham know what God was asking? What about the promise God made to Abraham and the miracle that Isaac was? Why didn’t he consult other people to get their opinion on what God had said? Why didn’t they call a committee meeting to see what other meaning God must have had? Why didn’t he do something more along those lines? The answer: He trusted God and lived a life fully devoted to Him. The answer does not make sense. The action does not make sense. But he obeys anyway. I can’t fathom making that decision, but he seems to not even pause. God told him to do something, so there was no other option.
Several thoughts I learn through this passage:(if you want to read the rest, and I know you do, click here to go to the Threads site where you will find the other half.)