Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Call to Surrender

“The Gospel is, at its core, an exchange of sovereignties.” Mike Erre

It’s hard to fathom just how much our Father loves us. Covenant. Calvary. Redemption. Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of Lights who never changes (James 1.17). Even the terrible things -- the evil committed against us (or the evil we commit against ourselves) -- He works for our good (Gen 50.20; Ro 8.28). He loves us that much. And it’s out of this love that He calls us to mirror Him and love like He loves (1 Jn 3.16).

When we call Jesus “Lord,” we use the name given to God in the Greek Old Testament: kurios. This word distinctly refers to one who has dominion; civil power; authority or magistracy (*1). This position of lordship must invoke surrender. Paul argues that our identity as Christians is two-fold:
  • The condition of our heart results in righteousness
  • The confession of our mouth results in salvation (Ro 10.10). 
These two events cannot be separated (*2). When we give Him the position of Lord in our lives, we are also laying down our love for all other competing lords (*3). This is why John writes so adamantly:
“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 Jn 3.10,11). 

We are called to renounce sin and to love our brother because both our righteousness and our love are marks of our devotion to our King, who is righteous and loving beyond compare.

This is a call to surrender.

Do we really want Him? Are we really ready for anything? Or are we actually deathly afraid that any moment now God could reach in and pop our bubble of comfortable, white-washed western Christianity?

Christianity was never supposed to be comfortable. Ours has been a religion of blood from the beginning. God chose blood as the means by which atonement is made. And it is by blood that we have redemption through Christ’s death on the cross; the perfect spotless Lamb of God. And it is by our own blood -- taking up our cross, offering our bodies as living sacrifices -- that His kingdom will advance.




Footnotes:
*1 - See Strong’s Lexicon on kurios; kuriotes.
*2 - I think this is the tragedy of the “Free Grace” movement which has subtly swept through American Evangelicalism. Mike Erre identifies the outcome of this in his book Death by Church:
“This version of the gospel separates justification (being declared right with God) from sanctification (being formed progressively into the image of Jesus) in ways the Bible doesn’t. We do this because we fear giving any appearance of being saved by our works. Righteousness is imputed, not earned or achieved. But the result of our misguided thinking is an inherent disconnect between what we think and what we do.”
*3 - This is grand imperative of the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.” The point is not just to have no other gods ahead of, or in front of Yahweh, as we often understand the English translation, but before Him -- as in, in His presence at all. NO OTHER god belongs in the throne room of Yahweh. Throw them away, burn them, get rid of them. Whatever you do, don’t bring them with you when you come before the God of the universe.

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