I went to a Calvinistic college. It’s not a bad thing; I’m just stating fact. I went there fairly skeptical of the doctrine of Election and left a disciple. Now, almost 10 years later I’m a little skeptical of election the way I was taught it. Again, this is not a knock on my professors, just a statement of fact. One of the passages used to support election is Ephesians 2
Which says, “1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” …”8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
In my five years in college I probably heard at least 20 sermons/teaching/lectures/discussions on those verses each year. Maybe more. How can a dead person do anything to save themself, etc. What I don’t ever remember hearing a sermon on (perhaps in my entire life) is verse #10
Which says, “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Emphasis Mine)
There seems to be some sort of gag reflex amongst
conservative people the church (all across the spectrum here) today when the idea is brought up that the church should be about doing something socially. Rick Warren gets involved with AIDS relief and he’s decried as a heretic. Mars Hill makes part of its mission to help relieve poverty and entire BLOG’s are dedicated to attacking the church. Labels are thrown around like confetti at a ticker tape parade. Cries of “Emergent” and “Social Gospel” are flung like a Roger Clemens fastball. And truthfully, it amazes me.
Why is the church so afraid to do something socially? Why are we like cats in the proverbial room full of Rocking chairs? Go back and read verses 8-10 together.
How can we read those verses and believe that we are not to do something about social injustice? Yes, salvation is about Heaven and imputation and justification, but it’s also about doing good works. I would go so far as to say if you’re not doing good works there is something radically wrong with your spiritual life.
Let me be as plain on this as I can. If you claim to be in a right relationship with God, you should be more concerned about the poor than you are about your 401k. If you say you are part of the family of God you should be more concerned about the homeless in your neighborhood than you should be about the typo you found in your church’s bulletin last week. If you claim to be a Christian God has prepared good works for you to do.
It is high time we start caring more about the families being displaced in this war.
For too long the American church has been about politics. We’ve fought battles we’re never going to win, we’ve abandoned our most powerful weapon: LOVE! I dare you to read the New Testament and just circle every verse where we are told to love each other, or love others. Circle each verse where we are told to act with kindness to each other. Go to James where we are told that religion that counts in God’s eyes is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
The most horrible truth here is we’ve forfeited what is rightfully ours; the fact that we can stand up to injustice, not with force but with love and meekness. We have been given the awesome opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to the world. So today, as you go about your life, look for opportunities to do that.
It is OK It is good if a church is known as a place of good works–that’s part of God’s plan prepared in advance for us.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
17 This is my command: Love each other.
The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [b]