“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” These are the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15. Paul was one of the champions of the grass root first-century church movement. He accomplished more for the church than almost anyone after him and wrote a significant portion of the New Testament. Yet, even the Apostle confessed he did not do what he wanted to. Continue reading →
In his latest book, Can Science Explain Everything?, theologian John Lennox makes a case against “scientism,” the ideology that “science” is or should be the only measure by which society should know what is true and good. Scientism’s hubris is the idea that science is “objective” and “unbiased,” whereas things like religion and art are not. Continue reading →
It has been said, “birds of a feather flock together.” Our natural inclination is to gravitate toward those who seem and look the most like us. Not only this, but we tend to align ourselves with people whom we view as having something to offer us, whether it be a rich relationship, wealth, popularity, or something else. This is one of the reasons that people hound celebrities. It is also the reason that “favoritism” insidiously infects our lives and society. Continue reading →
An estimated 103.4 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LII. While the game afforded an exciting opportunity to see an underdog accomplish the unthinkable, it did point out a humorous absurdity about the sporting event phenomenon. Over 100 million people, many of whom were desperately in need of exercise, watched 22 men on a field, many of whom were desperately in need of rest. While such participation is understandable for a sporting event, may it never be so in Christ’s Body, the Church. Continue reading →
“Let me get this straight,” her sister told her, “this preacher told you that a person like you could do all the foolish, immoral things you have done all your life, and five minutes before you die, you can just repent and trust Jesus and be saved just like that? He told you that you don’t have to live a really good life to go to heaven? That’s offensive. It’s too simple; it’s too easy. I’ll never believe that! And you shouldn’t either.” The woman being spoken to was a single mother, with a string of broken relationships with men. Earlier that week, a pastor and deacon from the church next-door came to visit her. The pastor, whose name was Timothy Keller, told her about the freedom offered to all in Jesus Christ; she responded with joy and trusted Christ.
The gospel can seem offensive, even to Christians. We are prone to wander from it, because it opposes the operating principles of this world that say, “You need to earn it!” The Apostle Paul pleaded with the Galatian Christians to return to the true gospel. He reminded them of their previous way of life. They used to worship the “principles of this world (Galatians 4:3)” – likely a reference to the basic elements that were thought to make up the material world. The Greek mind believed that spiritual beings worked behind these principles to control people’s lives. To gain favor with them, people would make offerings to various gods and goddesses. Although the Galatian Christians looked very different then they had then, they were regressing to a similar state of spiritual immaturity. By adopting Jewish laws and customs to gain favor with God, they were simply replacing pagan rituals with Jewish ones. (Galatians 4:8-11)
We are prone to do the same. We can turn religion into forms of self-salvation. When the defense of a doctrine is elevated above the One the doctrine points to, we disparage Christ’s sacrifice. When we seek to appease God by attending special worship services – such as Christmas and Easter – we mock Christ’s sacrifice. Though it can be good, religiosity can morph into a form of self-salvation. Any addition to the gospel is actually a subtraction from it. Any addition says to Christ, “Your sacrifice was not enough; I need to add to it.”
Forms of Self-salvation will constantly rear their head in our spiritual walk. The remedy is to refocus on God’s provision in Christ, for nowhere else is salvation found.