Some very earnest young men have come visiting me recently. They come to my door in twos and threes wearing ties on white shirts and black dress slacks. They wear name tags declaring that they are “elder this” or “elder that”. They are, perhaps, old (or is it young) enough to be my children.
First the bad news.
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good,not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” — Romans 3:10-18
That’s the way we are without God. That’s the way we are when we go to church but don’t believe. That’s the “cultural Christian”, the one who goes to church for appearance’s sake.
You may have noticed that the theme of this site keeps changing (or not, there aren’t that many of you that visit). I thought I had found one I liked… until it started inserting ads on my site.
It wouldn’t be so bad, but when the ads are for causes I simply cannot support? Away with the ads and away with the old theme.
[Update] The old theme was free, as is the one I’m using now. The ads came as a surprise and did not bring me any revenue.
Not so long ago I wrote about themes that disturb me in “super-hero” movies. One of the things I mentioned was that these movies have a warped theology. Super-heroes aren’t gods yet in some cases they seem to make the claim. One of the less obvious claims made by a “super-hero” was made by the Vision in the movie Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Vision: I am not Ultron. I am not J.A.R.V.I.S. I am… I am.
By “less obvious”, I mean that many people would simply take this statement as merely saying that the Vision exists. However there’s one who already claims “I am” as his name. And, to borrow a phrase from Steve Rogers, “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”
He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. – John 3:36
Here we see belief and obedience together being required. He who believes has eternal life. He who does not obey will not see life. Together these statements support the notion that true faith is equivalent to “trusting obedience”. In other words belief requires obedience or it isn’t truly belief.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:11-13
It isn’t because of anything we do that we are saved. We don’t “decide” to be saved. The Father wills our salvation. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we hear the word of God about Jesus and His work, and he grants us faith to believe. The faith given by God in Jesus the Son of God and his death and resurrection saves us.
Nobody chooses to be born. We are conceived, we grow, and in the fullness of time we are born. It wasn’t up to us to be conceived. We could not help but grow. Our birth was forced upon us.
Nobody chooses to be born again. Nothing we do brings it about. Our salvation is entirely the work of God.
When I was younger I really enjoyed reading comic books, particularly the ones about super-heroes. I enjoyed reading about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Silver Surfer, and quite a few other “heroes”. Comic books were cheap entertainment at 10 to 35 cents per copy. They allowed me to live a rich fantasy life where I was powerful, always right, good looking and muscular, and where if I didn’t get the girl it was because I had to lead a double life for her protection.