Say a few correct words and you are golden! Do the right sacrament and God cannot deny you entrance. Reject any claims for holy living as legalism. It’s how we roll now in our culture of grace. Contrast this with the extreme humility, suffering, commitment, and purpose of the One we call “Savior” and possibly “Lord”. Leaving a realm of absolute splendor where He was appreciated, adored and recognized as the Creator and Author of magnificence itself, He came as a passenger in a human womb (which today in America is not necessarily such a safe space), was born in a barn (HA!), surrounded by the splendor of animal smells and grunts, recognized only by foreigners and a few of the ‘white trash’ of His day, and then was hunted by an occupying conquering king. Even his parents were a little unsure about the whole thing. No doubt if you or I had orchestrated our entrance into a world we planned to save, we would have had a little more fanfare and appreciation. But then watch the life of the One who out of nothing created everything, and holds it together by some force we have yet to discover. He is submissive to earthly parents, makes a brief appearance at the Temple when He is twelve to mix it up with the Bible scholars of His day, and then disappears into obscurity until He is thirty (learning obedience according to the Scriptures). His mere three years of public life changed the rest of history. But it is not by force and domination or intimidation (except to the religious hypocrites) that He changes things. It is the unexpected power of a yielded obedience – though He is God- to His heavenly Father. And the price was excruciating physical, mental, and spiritual anguish.
This stands in stark contrast to present Christian persuasion that for our eternal security we need only engage in a somewhat sterile credit transaction to hold God to account for some verses we extract from His Word. Our conscience is soothed by shallow preaching that insists that grace requires nothing more from us than a mental assent to the premise that Jesus paid for our sins. We are free to live for hell like the rest of the unbelieving world and at the same time expect to inherit heaven. I love how the sweet yet profound Dallas Willard portrayed this mindset. He called it vampire Christianity, in which we take the blood for our covering but pretty much want nothing else to do with Jesus. I guess this explains why the a majority of Christians are indistinguishable in the secular environment.
I think of Jesus sitting on that hill overlooking Jerusalem as His heart was heavy with care for them – longing to gather them to Himself in protective love. How He must yearn for His people today. Like that picture He stands waiting to be invited into our lives. He wants to be there to comfort, to guide, to share all of who we are. He wants to shape us into magnificent kingdom creatures who are not only capable but passionate to display the love and forgiveness of God to all we meet. He wants to enrich and immerse us in love like we have never experienced it. How tragic that our dark little souls quake in fear at such a prospect! So we keep Him at bay with religion or indifference. Nothing new!
John 1:9-13 jbp (He) was the true light which shines upon every man as he comes into the world. He came into the world—the world he had created—and the world failed to recognise him. He came into his own creation, and his own people would not accept him. Yet wherever men did accept him he gave them the power to become sons of God. These were the men who truly believed in him, and their birth depended not on the course of nature nor on any impulse or plan of man, but on God.
“Oh come let us adore Him!”
Invite Him to be both Master and Maestro.