As we’ve approached local churches about loving their unborn neighbor, we’ve often been told: “Oh, it’s so nice you’re called to this. We’re sending money to a CPC that is solid, so we’re good, thanks!”
Meanwhile these churches spend their time encouraging their congregants to personal holiness of the brand their Pastor ascribes to.
We were once like this:
We spent our time policing one another’s apparel, obsessing over what we wore, if we appeared holy.
We spent our time studying scripture on HOW to be more holy,
engaging in pietistic navel gazing, determining how Christ would change OUR life, OUR behavior, OUR feelings, OUR actions. We tacked on pharisaical laws intent on displaying the FORM of Godliness.
But justice and mercy? That can be farmed out with bottles full of change. We’re busy learning to be holy over here!
We know it sounds harsh, but we SHOULD be harsh with this kind of nonsense. Christ did not redeem us so we can put scripture verses up in our bathrooms, and speak extra nicely, and wear nice clothing.
He redeemed us for HIS purposes! And he commands us to more than just reform our own little selves!
He tells us to DO justly, LOVE mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
That pure and undefiled religion is this: “To help widows and orphans and keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Jesus never said: “Hide away somewhere where you can learn to be as holy as possible til I come back!”
No. He said: “GO ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel!”
“Make disciples, teaching them whatsoever I command you.”
And what did he command us? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.”
The Church today, even the most fundamental, are obsessed with seeking personal piety and individual holiness, but they forget the other commands: Loving our neighbor, caring for those in need, teaching and making disciples.
We instead focus on the half of the gospel that affects ME and MINE, forgetting we’ve been told “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”We forget that our salvation is a gift. Not a result of our works. That we cannot PURSUE holiness, but that it is given to us by God’s grace.
“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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
God has prepared us to walk in good works. Not the kind that make my bathroom cleaner, my children happier, and my life more attractive.
But the kind that align with Christ’s words:
“Forwhoeverwants to savehis lifewillloseit, butwhoever loses his life for my sakewill find it.Whoeverwants to save theirlifewillloseit. Butwhoever losestheirlifefor me will find it.”
We’ve rejected Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel, called the Word of Faith movement silly, and yet we ascribe to a more culturally acceptable version. A holier, more spiritual kind of prosperity gospel. And if not in word, in deed.
Our deeds showing this: We think Christ only reigns in the 4 walls of our church buildings on Sunday morning, and in our hearts the rest of the week, as if his word has no effectual power in the world we live in.
We abandon our lost neighbors, shrug our shoulders at the most grievous of sins, watching them be destroyed day in, and day out, and our response?
To HIDE. To hide in our own homeschool circles. In our church buildings, in our “wholesome” family nights, in our football games at the church, in our potluck dinners.
We don’t oppose the evil in our world, we blithely invite it to join us on Sunday morning in the pews, and are shocked when it doesn’t come, or shocked when it DOES.
This is not the command Christ gives. This is not the example he set, or his disciples set.
“GO into ALL THE WORLD.”
Like Paul went to Mars Hill. Like Peter went to the synagogues, like Jesus preached open air to the crowds, like Jeremiah cried out in the marketplaces.