We Christians sometimes buy into a lie. We assume that if we’re not like those hateful, judgmental people who call themselves Christians, then the world will see that we’re actually pretty reasonable folks and want to follow Jesus. We believe that if Christians just cleaned up our act, then Jesus could finally captivate the hearts and minds of our neighbors.
The only problem with this view is that it has no basis in the example or teaching of Jesus. Nice Christians don’t always finish first. Even though Jesus loved perfectly to the end, his closest friends and disciples abandoned him when the political and religious authorities pinned him to the cross. Peter rebounded from his shameful denial of Jesus and vowed to love Jesus by loving his people. His reward? Jesus told him to expect that he, too, would stretch out his hands in unwanted death that would nevertheless glorify God (John 21:15-19).
To claim something is to take ownership, to say “it’s mine.” When we lay claim to property we gain certain rights and privileges. Litigants are awarded claims or denied them, claims of monetary value. Promises don’t work like that.
Often people “claim” a promise when life is hard or they’re afraid. They might even claim a promise for someone else, a child who has walked away from the Lord perhaps. When people do this, though, they are taking the Word of God and attempting to “own” it like a talisman or mantra. They’re treating an utterance breathed out by God as a silver bullet or a security blanket, a quick solution or a comfort to carry around. Sadly, some preachers even express these ideas from the pulpit.
Easter Kindle deals
- The Cross in the Experience of Our Lord by R.A.Finlayson—$2.99
- 14 Words From Jesus by James Boice & Philip Ryken—$2.99
- The Unexpected Jesus by R.C. Sproul—$3.99
- The Work of Christ by R.C. Sproul—1¢
- Old Story New by Marty Machowski—1¢
- Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur—1¢
Also on sale:
- The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung—99¢
- From Glory to Golgotha by Donald MacLeod—$2.99
- A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A.Carson—$3.99
- Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine—$3.99
How Frozen should have ended
Today you can get the ePub edition of Defending Your Faith by RC Sproul for $5 in today’s $5 Friday sale at Ligonier.org. Other items on sale:
- By Grace Alone by Sinclair Ferguson (ePub)
- Light and Heat conference messages (audio & video download)
- The Cross of Christ teaching series by R.C. Sproul (audio download)
$5 Friday ends tonight at 11:59:59 PM Eastern.
Marybeth Davis Baggett:
Here’s the thing: the cross Christians are called to take up by God’s Not Dead is more akin to a merit badge, a gold star on a class assignment, a “smile put on God’s face,” as Willie Robertson describes Josh’s achievement at the film’s culminating concert. A brand of Christianity is depicted in the film, but largely through emblem—a Newsboys t-shirt here, a cross necklace there. Evangelism reduced to mass communication, texting “God’s Not Dead” to all concertgoers’ contacts.