Martin Luther knew something about economics. Well, God’s economics anyway. It goes something like this: youcan’t pay your way into heaven, and it was wrong of the Pope and his cronies to say so. The Christian life is all of grace and nothing of personal sacrifice or performance. These are the big ideas that frame Luther’s 95 theses.
Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.
He looked me straight in the eye and said these words, almost in a challenging way, “I hate God. I do. I try to love and obey Him, yet whenever I’m alone, when my mind has a chance to think, it constantly and consistently points me to the fact that I am not innocent of sinning against God.
What is a fake Christian? I think the answer depends upon how you define “Christian”…the Bible says that a Christian is one who has faith in the person and work of Christ as his/her only means of salvation; that is that they’ve been put to death and raised into new life with Christ.
Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.
Think about it. God’s grace can quickly become theoretical and it plays out in our churchy practices and attitudes all the time. What if a homeless drunk began showing up to church services, but he’s really slow to change? He will need a lot of grace in order to live the sanctified life.
Americans love the vicarious sense of pride they get from the odds-defying underdog myth. But often, all the attaboy-ing translates to spiritual performance and a definition of sin that is closer to good intentions gone awry than war against the maker of the universe.