Sunday, 13 November 2005

Content to survive

"Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?" - Heb 2.1-3a]

How shall we escape? There is no way of escape if we neglect this salvation, because the salvation is the escape. Millions around the world have never heard of this great salvation; millions in this country think that they have heard and rejected it when all they have heard is a false pretender to it; we Christians think we are in the great salvation, and content to survive, do we drift away from it?

Piper pointed out (here) that so many alternative but suicidal competitors of salvation offer themselves, and we turn to them.

I consider one which so easily troubles the GBU. Going out with someone - which particularly effects drift when that person is a non-Christian. HOW can a Christian, beloved and chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be one of his people, no longer rebellious but washed, sanctified, to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, to become like him that God's praises might be declared by all for his wisdom in glorifying himself in the church and in his beloved Son - HOW can a Christian devote him/herself to someone who is outside of Christ, a stranger to his love, rebelling still against him, unclean in his sight, knowing not Christ nor his resurrection nor his fellowship, not like him but distorting his image, not praising God but seeing only foolishness in his church, not loving the precious Son of God?

Ah, is not my theology of man, of creation low? Fallen man still in God's preserving and restraining grace retains something of his image - he is still lovable, with the love that God gives which loves even the rebel. And is not human love a good thing? And didn't God create sexuality? And who are we to judge? It is God who sees the heart of our friend. True. So we love other fallen human beings and leave God to judge the heart.

But we are not our own; we've been brought with the price of the blood of the Son of Man and Son of God. We died and are risen in Christ - the life I now live I live to the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me! How then can that life be bound up together with, be devoted to, be inseparably covenantedly shared with one who is still dead and living not to the Son of God but to himself? How can we think of that with one who will not covenant to spur us on and encourage us to pursue Christ with every fibre of our being?

  • Do you think so highly of yourself and your commitment to pursue Christ that you imagine you do not need the other member of this two-into-one covenantal life-long partnership which you are considering to be one who will spur you on constantly to not neglect such a great salvation?

  • Or do you think so low of Christ that to make every provision to love him with every fibre of your being is not your sights compared with your vision to love a man?

    What is the situation? A Christian girl goes out with a non-Christian guy. She's not treating it lightly: this is a long-term relationship - presumably with marriage in mind. She knows it's not ideal: she's aware that she could be 'dragged down'. But there aren't many Christian guys around - for example, the national GBU has around 50 members.

    And that is it: the suicidal competitor of salvation. She is so scared of not being married that she forgets the marriage supper of the lamb. She so believes the lie of significance and security found in a boyfriend, that she forgets that significance and security are found in Christ alone. She so believes the 'Christian' lie of the idol of family that she forgets that in Christ God has adopted her into a family - his own. She so pursues this competitor to salvation that relative to that, she forgets to pursue Christ.

    So this is a SUICIDAL competitor of salvation. There is no other way if we neglect such a great salvation. She is content to survive (as she imagines). But she forgets to pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest she DRIFT away from it.

    "Come back from the suicidal competitors of salvation!" Piper cries in his sermon on this text. How I would cry this to the girls in GBU. Love Christ more. He is worthy. He is everything. What good is it to gain a loving, caring, devoted husband and happy family life and lose the Lord Jesus Christ? What good is it? There is NO survival outside of Christ.

    "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declaredby angels proved to be reliable and every transgressionor disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"

    The spirit of 'content to survive' ('persuing survival' if you will) pervades Christians, student groups and churches. Yet those content to survive will not survive. We need contentment in God, not in survival - contentment in pursuing enjoyment of him to his glory with every fibre of our being, and calling others to do it with every breath and every ounce of love.

    Lord give me grace to do so, and to call others to do so. Because Jesus is everything.
  • 1 comment:

    mama said...

    But the heart whispers, "He/she is so lovely... they're not a NON-Christian... you can change them... God can use you to convert them... or perhaps we're being too narrow, thinking that everyone has to have exactly the same conversion experience we've had... perhaps in their own way they really do belong to Him... and anyway, he/she's just a good friend when I'm so lonely... don't I have a right to a friend? Surely it's a bit mean of God not to give me a Christian soulmate, it's not my fault I have to make do... if He wants me to have a Christian He'll have to find me one..." and so the father of lies goes on, ad nauseam.
    (Let him/her that thinks he/she stands take heed lest he/she fall)