20200224 Yet they will lean upon the Lord

Monday Musings for February 24, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

Many of you are familiar with CS Lewis’s trilemma concerning the deity of Christ. Lewis (and others before him) observed that, based on how Jesus presented himself in Scripture, he was either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord... but the thing you could not say about him was that he was merely a great moral teacher.

We at Mainsail Ministries affirm that Jesus is Lord, and I’m suspicious of people who go out of their way to call Jesus a great teacher — only to stop there. Thomas Jefferson did that as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why am I suspicious? Because but being a great teacher was not the point. Being God — being Messiah — that was the point.

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18, NIV)

“The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (John 4:25–26, NIV)

So here’s the thing: if Jesus wasn’t God and the prophesied Messiah, then he lied about those critical things... and as a liar, he’d be disqualified from being a great “moral” teacher (Leviticus 19:11). As such, the critical question is the same now as it has always been: who do you think Jesus is? (Mark 8:27).

I see myself as a congruent Christian... which is not to say that I’m a perfect Christian. But I don’t see myself as a hypocrite... although this is no invitation to examine the details of my life. Instead, I ask that you look at the whole because — on the whole — I follow Christ.

What I find interesting about this wholeness is that it takes the cooperation of both parties: God cannot have us wholly until we have him wholly... and Jesus being a great moral teacher is not the whole picture. Yet, people like me — people who know better — still fail God by compartmentalizing our faith.

Compartmentalized faith is a Smorgasbord faith, and this take-some-or-leave-some attitude about Christianity can lead to cognitive dissonance. When we “know” more about the faith than we “do" about the faith, we are in spiritual tension... and tension makes noise.

Unfortunately, many of us have found a way to deal with that noise. We put the “uncomfortable” parts of our lives into — what we fool ourselves into thinking are — sound-proof containers. But sin is like the tell-tale heart. We can hide it away... yet it still convicts us through the floorboards (Romans 2:14-15).

Now, I understand that compartmentalizing can help us manage life’s load and help get us through the day. But in today’s passage, the religious leaders were compartmentalizing sin for the purpose of profiting under God’s aegis — and that’s a no-no. Micah called them out, Jesus called them hypocrites... and I consider myself cautioned.

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