Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When He had made purification of sins...

Hebrews 1:1-4 NASB God's Final Word in His Son
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (2) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (3) And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (4) having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

In my morning devotions I started Hebrews today. WOW. After the first four verses I could not go on.

Lately I have heard from more than one place that the Bible and the Christian life is about "Loving God and loving others". This "motto" is good and true but that is not what makes Christians and/or the Bible different from Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, JW's, Mormons, Wiccan’s, and a good Gnostic, Deist, Republican, or Democrat. They can, and do, say the same things.

The difference is Christ.
It is what we believe about whom Christ is and what He did for us that makes us Christians. The Bible is first the redemptive history of God and man and secondly a Christian “how to live” manual. When we get those two things changed around we start to see the Christian life as a 10 step program to do… whatever. Jesus becomes your “Guru” or “Life Coach”, not your Redeemer. Worse yet, we will start to think we must do things to make ourselves “worthy” to “get to Heaven” or so that “St. Peter will let us passed the Pearly Gates”. Even worse, we will start to think that being a follower of Christ is all about doing good deeds.

Christianity is not about "Loving God and loving others” or doing good deeds. Christianity is about relying on Christ’s finished work on the cross to make yourself “right” with God. "Loving God and loving others” and doing good deeds is something that all Christians should do out of a thankful heart to God and to bring glory to His name. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
It may seem like hair-splitting but it is not. It is what birthed the Reformation.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

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