Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Faith will Save. Love can Deceive

Faith is the complete trust that Jesus Christ redeemed all humanity by sacrificing himself as atonement for our sin and that by believing that He is the only Son of God and was raised from the dead, we will receive the grace that grants us eternal life with our Lord. Love is the strong affection one has for another arising out of kinship, personal ties, admiration, or devotion. Often the differences between these aspects of our relationship with our Lord tend to become blurred. Faith is the way to our salvation. Imperfect love can lead in the opposite direction.

True faith in the risen Christ is not only believing that Jesus Christ is truly the son of God, who carried our sins to the cross, took the punishment that we deserved, and defeated death so that we may live, true faith requires us to give up our lives for Him. In order to be our Lord’s disciples, we must turn over control of our lives and live as our Lord commands. Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through who we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Through our faith in the risen Christ, we have a new relationship with God. We no longer are the sinful beings that deserve God’s wrath and punishment. We are granted, by His grace, the total forgiveness of all sin and an invitation to join our Lord in His house. The chasm between God and His children has been bridged by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we first believe in the risen Christ, our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit. When we believe and place Christ first in our hearts, we will no longer be alone. We will want to please our Lord and live in a manner that He commands.

Our Lord has a perfect love for His children. No matter what wrongs we do, sins we commit, the times we disregard God’s Word or fail to return our Lord’s unconditional love, He will love us and always offer His redeeming grace if we only believe. There is no earthly sin that will cause our Lord to retract that gift of grace and our salvation, as long as we truly accept Christ. So does this mean that we can live our lives regardless of the law? No, it still remains as God’s moral and ethical design for His children. Once the law was all important, and God’s punishment for those that violated the law was severe. Since Jesus Christ suffered and died as atonement for our sin, adherence to the law is no longer necessary to ensure our salvation. With Christ as the cornerstone of our lives and first in our hearts, we will gladly abide by God’s command and obey the law He has set before us.

It is when we try to share our love as our Lord loves us, without first surrendering ourselves to Him, that we will fail, often times, miserably. Using our imperfect love will cause us to make decisions that we ourselves believe to be right without truly considering our Lord’s will. While that it is true that our God loves all of His children, unconditionally, He also expects us to obey His law for us. Often, when one searches for a way to justify a particular end, the path to the true conclusion is often overlooked. Trying to find a path to that predetermined destination will often propel us on a course leading away from our Lord’s will. We need look no farther than the ELCA. By trying to be everything to everyone and elevating worldly aspirations over our Lord’s will, the ELCA has actually hindered their efforts to share God’s love in the world. In fact, the ELCA has so perverted their attempt to share God’s love that they promote the social justice agenda over and above the call to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is when we place the love of ourselves and our agenda first, and consign our Lord to a secondary position, that our imperfect love will ultimately deceive. Romans 16:17-18, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of na├»ve people.”

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent article, but I have a disagreement about the word "love".

    The ELCA is now saying that we should bless gay/lesbian marriage and ordain non-celibate homosexuals. The justification for this departure from the Gospel and church tradition is "love". The argument can be boiled down to this: If we truly loved gays and lesbians, and we truly had the love of Christ in us, we would accept their lifestyle choices.

    Now, I have a hard time sympathizing with that line of reasoning. Frankly, it is on the same emotional level as a 15-year-old boy saying, "If you love me, you would let me borrow the car tonight so I can go get drunk with my pals," or a 15-year-old girl saying, "If you love me, you would let me date this guy who is three times my age." We can say a lot about parents who would agree to that sort of insanity, but "love" is not a word I would use.

    The notion that the ELCA's leadership is emotionally immature may be provocative, but only slightly. Many times I have tried to discuss this issue in a rational, adult manner in the church with supporters of the ELCA's actions. Within minutes (sometimes seconds) the discussion degenerates into charges of homophobia and fear-mongering. It is very hard to break through this passive-aggressive style of debate, but if you look at much of our secular political discourse then this tactic becomes all too familiar. If (for example) you support or oppose certain political leaders or positions, you are quickly accused of "racism", or "homophobia", or "Islamophobia", or whatever other charges happen to be handy.

    I think that the ELCA is after "love", but it is the love and approval of the world, not that pesky carpenter from Nazareth.