Friday, February 5, 2016

Church Signs: "The Bible is Chock Full of...

...New Year's Resolutions. "

I'm not against making resolutions at the beginning of a new year (although I don't make them), and I'm definitely not against the Bible. I do have a problem with trying to mix the two. It is true that there are commands in the Bible and we are told that there are certain things that characterize followers of Jesus.

Trying to improve in certain areas of our lives is a good thing. As an athlete, I was always trying to improve my skills. As a coach, I never let my players rest on past accomplishments. In many careers, if you're not improving, you're going backwards. It's good to try to be a better husband, father, etc. There is nothing wrong with trying to be a better human being.

Where I differ from what seems like most of American Christianity, is seeing the story of the Bible as a story, not of what we can or need to do, but of what God has done. A great deal of evangelical preaching is on how to be a better (fill in the blank). Fundamentalist preaching is about what we need to do to stay "right with God." I beg to differ with both.

That kind of preaching can be inspirational, but it is not the gospel. The gospel is not about what we can do. It is about what Christ has done. Ultimately, there is nothing we can do to improve our standing with God, nothing we can do to make him love us. All we can do is put our total trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. There is no amount of resolutions that can ultimately make us what we already are in Christ.

Again, let me emphasize that I am not against making resolutions, having goals, or trying to improve in areas of our lives. I can think of more than a few areas where I can use some improvement. I just don't see the "gospel" of self improvement in Scripture. Your mileage may differ. Feel free to disagree.

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