Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What is the Way of Jesus?

What is the Way of Jesus?

Jn.14:5 - Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 9:1 - And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

The word “Christian”, originally a derisive term for believers, has been adopted by believers as the proper pronoun to which we identify ourselves. But the term itself, once used to identify those who lived like Jesus and refused to bow before Caesar, has slowly become a catch all for anyone who seems to have some kind of faith in Jesus. From superstition to traditional and even delineating an ethnicity, the word Christian has lost all semblance of distinctiveness. A person can identify himself as a Christian because he was raised as one or even because he is not a Jew or a Muslim.

Now there are a set of theological doctrines which are inherent to the Christian faith, and most churches identify themselves as Christian by those doctrines. But while salvation is by faith alone and without the addition of any human works, is the Christian faith solely based upon an acknowledgement of those doctrines? Is the way of Jesus exclusively paved with doctrinal stones and the way in which we live our lives is an elective?

Many of the doctrines which are designated as “cardinal” have no life correlation or behavioral manifestation. How does one live the Trinity? How can a life project the virgin birth? These are theological truths taught in Scripture but they do not seem to have a behavioral counter part. And on one level it is much, much easier to embrace theological doctrines than it is to live an unmistakable expression of the Incarnate Christ. Liberals seem to downplay cardinal doctrines while the orthodox crowd seems to downplay the living manifestation of Christ Himself.

And so we have compromised with the word “Christian” which seems to be an innocuous label which has also been disemboweled of all the sacrificial and self denying elements of the Incarnate Christ. And in the midst of the most violent and hedonistic culture imaginable, the Christian faith has been presented in the most pedestrian and ordinary framework. And our lifestyles are so innocuous and benign that they are unrecognizable as any different than the unregenerate sinner next door.

But the more seeker and emergent people have stooped to using lights and secular sensationalism and all sorts of theatrics to attempt to be separate from the religious crowd. Today is a real mess. And when we see these worldly exhibitions we cling to out doctrinal statements to separate ourselves from them. But the orthodox churches are packed full of the traditions of men as well as a stifling air of self righteousness. Again, a real mess.

But the Christian life is more than nodding to a set of doctrines, and it is much more than an electric light show. In fact the Christian faith is a way; a way of life as well as a way of death. It is transcendent and supernatural. It is practical and mystical. It is glorious and humbling. It is Him and Him alone. The life that follows and reveals the Risen Christ and the Suffering Redeemer should be, must be, an incandescent treasure housed in earthen vessels. And His excellent power must be released daily through the open cracks of a broken vessel. There is no room for smugness or selfishness; no room for greed or avarice; no room for lust or earthly desire; no room for conceit or pride; no room for idolatry or other gods; no room for fear or double mindedness; there is only room for Him. And He is all in all.

But somehow we have attempted to incorporate Christ into out hustle and bustle, and with little more than doctrinal lip service we claim He is Lord. Can there be a more profound lie? Where are the voices all around us wondering why our lives are so very different? Not just that we have differnt views, but that our very lives seem so unfettered from the cares of this world. As the church gladly participates in the moral melee and the political circus, the kingdom of darkness dismisses us as nothing more than a religious people whose spirituality ascends no higher than a battle of words. And they are correct.

The faith of Jesus Christ has been swallowed up in a culture that embraces religion and even different moral perspectives, but considers humility and self denial as cultish and extremism. We have exchanged salt and light for conservative and capitalism. Instead of living epistles we have become living Americans. Bow your heads and weep because that which was purchased for us, and that which is rightfully His, has been thrown to the winds of this world. Can it ever be resurrected?

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Pray, repent, and pray again.

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