Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Crux of Christianity

Gal 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

It doesn't matter that you're precisely on-time to your 9am Bible Class every Sunday morning; if you're not helping others in their daily struggles, you're not fulfilling the law of Christ.
James 2:8 Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
It doesn't matter that you can recite the entire Bible from memory, and know the differences between the covenant of Noah and that of Abraham; if you have the resources to get your neighbor's lawn mode during Zero-Toleration Week when he can't, so he doesn't get a ticket for grass that's too high, you're not fulfilling the Royal Law.
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
It doesn't matter if you know all the correct doctrine, and break no rules of God, and meticulously keep the commands concerning worship and praise and church organization; if you're not making sure the widow woman has heat this winter and the orphan kids have shoes, you're not practicing pure and undefiled religion.
1 Cor 13:1 If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
It doesn't matter if you have special miraculous capabilities, or extraordinary insight into Scripture, or a faith that drives to success, or even a self-sacrificing generosity; if it's not done out of love, it's no good.

The rich young ruler (Matt 19:16ff) had been a good kid all his life, keeping all the commands he knew to keep, but he still felt like maybe he wasn't good enough to be saved. Jesus told him that although he had kept all "the rules", that didn't matter; what mattered was having the right heart. The ruler wasn't willing to part with his big home and his fancy car and his fine art.

I recently saw a movie wherein the family of the main character had two vacation homes and spent no less than $10,000 per chair to redecorate the living room; this is the type of "rich young ruler" who doesn't see the family of five who's dad is working two jobs and who's mom is frantically trying to get the kids to school and to the dentist, who are struggling to pay the dentist, who are worried they won't be able to give the kids a decent Christmas or to be able to afford to let the kids go to Six Flags with the church group once a year.

The crux of Christianity is not about "keeping the rules"; it's about one-anotherness, "not looking to your own interests but to the interests of others" (Phil 2:4); helping those in need is the very reason for having a job (Eph 4:28).

Nothing wrong with "keeping the rules", particularly how we worship and what we teach in our assemblies; but we've tended to focus on that instead of the real fundamental of Christianity ("by this they will know you are my disciples, in that you love one another"- John 13:35). It's time we re-examine what we emphasize in our assemblies:
Heb 10: 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another....
Originally published at:

No comments: