what do you really KNOW?

Posted: March 31, 2008 in faith, Jesus, worship

I had a great conversation with Greg & Daniel the other night at Spicy’s. We were there to watch the utter spanking of Tenneseee by Louisville in the Sweet 16. It as an excellent opportunity for engaging coversation, since the entertainment was clearly lacking.

The basic point of the discussion was this: way too many Christians claim to KNOW way too much about God, the Bible, faith, and the appropriate way to flesh out a Christian lifestyle.

This may be the very foundation of Christian division – both personally and denominationally. One person/group says, “I KNOW (this) is true and should be done this way.” The other person/group says “No, you’re wrong. I KNOW (this) is true and should be done this way.” Emotion, bickering, hurt feelings, and anger ensue. They are unable to resolve differences in a peaceful and open minded way. And a split of some kind occurs.
You can simply fill in the blank for (this) …. communion, baptism, faith alone, faith and works, tongues, spiritual gifts, pastoral roles, financial stewardship, worship music, preaching styles, evangelistic methods, salvation, tithing, role of women, the Holy Spirit, physical attire or appearance, care for the earth, treatment of animals, dealing with sin in the church community, medical practices, healing by the Spirit, confession to a priest, vanity, child rearing, home schooling, involvement in political matters, role of the husband or wife, dating, legalism, care for the poor, abortion, age of accountability, liturgy of the service, and on and on and on.
But really … what do we really, truly, KNOW about all of these matters? For instance, I know that murder is wrong. God specifically and undeniably says it is unacceptable. He also never says anything that might refute that fact. However, He does not clearly and precisely tell me how to dress. I can “infer” from Jesus’ teachings and from understanding the character of God that there is a line in which my physical attire could be considered sinful, but I don’t KNOW what that line is, do I? Nor does God tell me the exact rules regarding the use of music in church worship. He certainly does not specifically say that it is sinful to either use music or not use music. And He shares no preferences on whether he likes rock, folk, pop, or hymnal styles the best.
There is so little that I know and SO much that I don’t. I know God created the heavens, the earth, animals, and people. I know He loves me. I know He sent Jesus to die for me so I could live forever with Him. I know He wants me to love Him more than anything else. And I know He wants me to love my fellow man as much, if not more, than I could ever love myself. I know that Jesus was baptised, so it’s both important and meaningful to follow that example. But I don’t know if baptism is absolutely 100% necessary for salvation. I know that the disciples and the early church met together to break bread and partake in “communion” to remember Christ. But I don’t know exactly how often they did so, whether they ONLY did it on Sundays or Wednesdays, whether they had a “communion prayer” every time before taking it, or whether they took it all at the same time or took it as they felt led. I know that the early church met to worship the Lord, but I don’t know how long that lasted, what instruments they did or didn’t use, what lyrics their songs consisted of, or whether they were more “pentacostal” or “lutheran” or “methodist” in their emotional and physical reactions to worship. I know that I’ve sinned and am doomed to eternal death without believing in Christ. But I don’t know whether or not someone in the Amazon jungle – who’s never been told about Jesus Christ, but who sees the amazing beauty of creation, realizes it has to come from a higher power or supreme being, and cares for the earth and for his fellow man – is saved or not. I can’t possibly know.
What I am coming to know the older I get is that God’s love and grace is far bigger and wider and greater and more encompassing than you or I could ever imagine. I do know that throughout history He has used people to accomplish His purposes that, if we knew them personally, we probably could not imagine how they could have been chosen by God. I also know that most of the issues listed above (and so many more) have very little to do with our salvation and with God’s intense love for His people, and much more so to do with our small mindedness, our inability to put God in a box, our emotional insecurities, our lack of love for others, our desire for power and to be “right”.
And, in some backwards way, all of those things are simply another reminder of how sinful we are, how incapable we are of saving ourselves, and just how much we needed Jesus to come to earth, die on a cross, rise from the grave, take away the sins of the world, and be our best friend, our Lord, and our Savior. Is it possible that we could all spend a lot more time focusing on that…and much less time focusing on almost everything else?
  1. x-ray chick says:

    What is important to me is that I rely on God, not on man, to tell me the things that my soul needs.

    God is continually blowing my mind and I stand amazed in His presence.

  2. clarityy says:

    [in reply to your comment on my blog]

    yeah that entry was a *little* blunt, but my blogs are usually happy so i feel like i can vent sometimes.

    and i go to crossings but not as much as i should! next time i’ll try to hang around after and talk to blake and figure out who you and a couple other bloggers are 🙂

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