The Bible is loaded with foundational statements that are bizarre, offensive and often quite disgusting to the unbelieving ear.
We are commanded to “eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood”. We are told that He is “the bread of life”, “the Word made flesh”, and that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” personified.
Echoes of these phrases bounce around the American country side regularly, particularly on Sundays, yet they are rarely, if ever, seriously contemplated, applied, or “fleshed out”, so to speak. This dismissive approach to these fundamental truths of biblical Christianity has been embraced by most professing Christians for generations now. Lip service and autopilot amen-ing has replaced vigorous pursuit and application of the personified truth of Jesus Christ in even some of the most self-described “conservative” and “Bible preaching” churches.
We must “eat His flesh and drink His blood”? What?!
He is “the bread of life”? Ummm…okay…
He’s “the way, the truth, and the life”? Yeah, we have an easier time with that one, but what does it actually mean? What are its implications? Do we even care?
The importance of these ideas and their relationship to our current cultural slide into oblivion makes itself plain 99% of the time that the typical American “Christian” is challenged to think biblically along these lines.
Just try to seriously relate a discussion of politics, economics, art, or children’s education directly to the nature of Christ as revealed in His Word as the standard by which the realm of life under consideration is to be tested and see what happens.
You’re roughly 10,000 times more likely to be met with a confused, frustrated, or even angry glare from the typical Christian in America than you are to hear anything like, “Of course, everything begins with Christ, so let’s consider this in light of what He has revealed on the subject in His perfect word.”
Actually measure politics by Christ?
Are you kidding?!
Art, law, business, economics…
Are you some kind of fanatic or something?!
Oh, just shut up and go away, already. You aren’t even living in the real world.
While it is only to be expected that unbelievers would object (often mockingly and/or angrily) to Christ’s nature as being the actual binding standard against which everything is to be measured and tested right here and now, the sad reality is that the vast majority of professing Christians have joined their unbelieving friends, co-workers, teachers, and family members in this mocking, dismissive rejection of the only standards capable of bringing and sustaining true life, peace, and stability to any realm in God’s creation.
Keep the Bible talk vague, and these professing Christians are fine with it.
They have little trouble singing, nodding in agreement, or otherwise affirming that “Jesus is Lord”. As for any detailed application of that claim, well…they’re not very interested in that. Not very interested at all.
Not only are they disinterested in seeking and applying the lordship of Christ in life in any detail, but, whenever pressed, they are often just about as hostile to the idea as their openly unbelieving friends. This then begs the question: Are they true believers?
Are they actually Christians?
Not surprisingly, this perfectly good and proper question itself is often reviled by the same religious folks who bristle at the suggestion that Christ is at this very moment the binding, authoritative personal standard against which all art, law, philosophy, economics, and educational pursuits are to be measured and tested.
Yet Scripture again and again presents and then answers the “how do I know if I am really saved?” question by pointing to the test of true love for Christ as defined in His perfect Word: If we love Him, we will have a deep desire to learn and apply everything that He has commanded – we will, as the Scripture repeatedly states – strive, by His grace, to learn and keep His commandments.
We are saved by the grace of God alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Our works contribute nothing to either our attaining or maintaining salvation. Salvation is all of God, and we are saved unto good works, the active pursuit of holiness in every realm of life, and the Great Commission to make like-minded (as in “Christ-minded”) disciples of all the nations and teach them to do all that Christ the King has commanded (see: Matthew 28).
This, quite obviously, applies to everything that He has commanded with regard to economics, education, politics, sexuality, and everything else.
By God’s grace through the Gospel, we are supernaturally transformed into what Scripture calls “new creatures in Christ”. As a result of this supernatural transformation, we are given a new desire to pursue the God-centered holiness we once hated and resist the self-centered sin and rebellion to which we were previously enslaved.
In this transformation we abandon the pathetic pursuit of lordship over our own lives and we happily submit to Christ the King as King.
This is all coherently and repeatedly presented throughout the New Testament, yet the concept of actual, right-now subjugation to Christ as King in all things and in all realms of life is utterly repugnant to many professing Christians…which means that, according to Scripture, it is quite likely that these professing believers are not actual Christians at all.
Which is all the more reason to share the Gospel. While we cannot know with certainty who is and who is not saved on this side of eternity, we can and do know this: Every unbeliever desperately needs to hear and submit to the whole, undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ the King, and every believer has need of hearing the same supernaturally beautiful and powerful truth again and again as a reminder.
Every serious consideration of every significant subject must begin with Christ as the clear, defining, and life-giving standard by which it is to be measured and understood.
Thus, any serious conversation on any significant issue of the day is a vital, much needed opportunity to proclaim and apply the Gospel and Great Commission.
So what does Jesus bring to politics, education, law, and economics?
He gives them true life. Insofar as they conform to His nature, they are good; they will live and inspire life in every good and meaningful sense. Insofar they dismiss or abandon His nature, they lead to darkness and death.
We are lovingly told to “eat His flesh and drink His blood” because He is the very foundation of all true, abundant life in every material and immaterial aspect of His creation. He really is truth. He really is life. Personally.
This is why His nature as revealed in His Word is essential to a right understanding or pursuit of anything in His creation. Every material and immaterial thing is utterly dependent upon His nature in this way. Art, music, family, law, philosophy, sexuality and everything else can only be rightly understood and pursued in light of and subjugation to Him personally – as revealed in His Word.
That’s how things work in His creation.
That’s how it always has been and that’s how it always will be.
Our missing (or choosing to miss) that rather ginormous point is exactly why we are where we are right now as a culture.
To claim that Christ can be “set aside” as anything but the essential core in any realm of life is to openly invite death and destruction into that realm…which is exactly what we’ve done in economics, education, family life, religion, politics, art…the list goes on and covers every aspect of our proud, dying culture.
To truly live in “the real world” is to submit to the life-sustaining, truth-defining nature of Christ the King. To pretend to be living in the real world while advocating any other approach to living is life-, family- and culture-destroying foolishness…no matter how much you participate in churchy activities and no matter what your professional pastor tells you.
The “real world” and everything in and around it is entirely owned and defined by Christ.
That’s the reality that we are to faithfully proclaim and apply at every opportunity that He gives us in every area of life.
That is the only truth upon which anything (or anyone) in this dying culture can actually be saved.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.