Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Simple Faith—Genesis 15:5-6 (Why the Modern Church is Dead Wrong)

There's a  very short little passage that's held up by the Apostle Paul in Romans 4 as the example of faith.

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6, ESV)
As I reflect on this, I'm concluding that nearly everything I've been taught about "Christianity" is just dead wrong. Dead because people are truly dying in shame and condemnation, not knowing that they have been taught men's religion instead of the true gospel of grace. And that their performance ability to somehow 'be good' is not what matters; it's God moving in to make them good that matters.
I imagine a conversation between Abraham and modern Church Bob (CB) that might go something like this:
Abe: "You're not going to believe this..."
CB: "What?"
Abe: "I was just sitting around last night, and God called me out here, told me to count the stars, and as I began, He interrupted me and told me I'd have that many kids. I said, "OK," and He told me that I was RIGHTEOUS! Just like that."
CB: "Uh huh. Really. (pauses) How do you know it was Him?"
Abe: "Well, He said so."
CB: "Yeah, well, I've heard that before. Do you have any confirmation?"
Abe: "Well, it's kinda early for that, don't you think?"
CB: "Right. Is there anyone else that agrees with you to confirm it?"
Abe: "You're the first one I've told. I haven't even told Sarah...I figure she's gonna laugh at me."
CB: "No kidding. Well, does what He said line up with Scripture?"
Abe: "That hasn't been written yet, you know. Moses hasn't even been born yet. But I am taking notes for later."
CB: "OK. I'm not feeling real good about this. Have you repented of your sins?"
Abe: "Well, apparently, since He declared me righteous."
CB: "Do you even understand what's occurred? We need to sign you up for our Formations class. It starts next Wed. night."
Abe: "I don't know if I'll have time for that. I have a feeling we're moving soon..."
CB: "You don't have time? That's not a good sign. You have to make time. Well, have you prayed about all this?"
Abe: "Not unless you count the "Ok.""
CB: "Have you given anything yet? Or signed up to serve somewhere yet?"
Abe: "Given what? Serving...well, I thought I was serving Him now. I don't understand...."
CB: "Exactly. You don't understand. You don't have the first clue what any of this means, haven't done one thing to demonstrate that any of it's true, haven't forsaken anything, and frankly, I don't even see anything different in you today than I did yesterday except that you didn't offer me coffee this morning. And you expect me to believe you?"
And there's our modern dilemma. Well-meaning folks, who want our best and who want God's best, have misunderstood our salvation. We believe that we first get it by faith, but we then believe we better start busting our butts in order to keep it.
I think that when God says, You're Righteous, the conversation is over. It doesn't depend on we who are not able, it depends on Him who is able. Now we merely live out who He says we are, with Him in us and walking with us. He'll get us where He's taking us. No matter what. He says so. End of conversation.