This may seem an obvious statement to many, yet it is still very contentious. I have come to the conclusion that for many of us a preferable statement of truth might be…
“Jesus is all about me”.
It is amazing to me how many decisions of faith and morality are made by Christians and churches based upon the feelings and sensibilities of people. How often we compromise on the message of the gospel and the implications that it leads to because we want to include people.
It is not that gathering and loving people is wrong. Of course it is not wrong. Rather, that our first love and goal should be intimacy with God through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, we accept and love people according to His measure rather than theirs. Love and inclusion are not the same thing. Perhaps we should think more about love and invitation.
There are moral decisions and theological conclusions that are simply impossible to uphold if we put people first. How can there be damnation and sin if people come first? Of course, if people are primary in our theology, all people will be saved and all lifestyles and behaviors are acceptable because we serve people.
I believe, however, that people do not come first. God comes first. It is all about Jesus and so our faith and decisions should be shaped by, and founded upon, the desire to pursue and adopt ever closer bonds with Him. Disciples do not pursue the truth, they pursue their master. In Jesus we have the embodiment of truth. He is the way, the truth and the life. When we find Him and draw as close to Him as we possibly can we are able to speak the truth in love because we speak about Jesus.
The truth is this…
- God did not sin against us, we sinned against him.
- God does not need to return to us, we need to return to him.
- Therefore, the Word does not need to be conformed to our lives, we need to conform our lives to the Word.
Is there really any surprise when the Christian Church speaks the truth of righteousness through relationship with God and people rise up against it? Sin alienates people from the truth of the Word of God and so, when the Word is declared the sinful nature rises up within us in indignation.
“How dare God tell me that I am wrong!”
“How dare the Bible tell me that my life and choices are leading away from God rather than towards Him!”
All of us experience this in some way or other. I HATE it when people tell me I am wrong… but under Jesus I must listen and discern the truth according to His Word. It is the truth that will set me free and it is catastrophically dangerous for me to use the truth to justify my actions.
Following the truth of God alienates people because, really, all people think that they know better than God. Original sin is a reality that stalks our humanity and frustrates our discipleship. Often we will make attempts to redefine sin so that we are not subject to it. We only have to look at our own lives and the life of the world around us to realise that when humanity sets the agenda and the path, things go wrong.
It is all about Jesus! His way. His truth. His life. Our salvation through submission to these things by faith.