- Religion and Philosophy
Man Centered Christianity
Not My Will But Thine Be Done
Faith Without Works Is Dead
Hey All I put this writing together several years ago. At the time I was being convicted and in true ABR fashion, I made a soapbox out of it. Since then I have settled down a bit but still find this writing convicting. I would like to say that I like the song Above All and I sing it in church often. It simply requires a little instruction before I sing it.
1 Samuel 15:22 Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,And to heed than the fat of rams.
There is a false teaching that has subtly snared me over and over again and is found through out the Christian community. I wonder if you to have seen it? It is a message that is heavy on grace but light on God’s sovereignty. It teaches we are “so loved by God” that we forget that He is a just judge. It overlooks his rod of discipline in which he uses to correct and guide (Hebrews 12:6)
I like to call this false teaching "Man-Centered Christianity ". Humanism that disguises itself as God's Grace. It sees God as winking at sin. It convinces people they are saved when they are not. Those who embrace and then spread this deadly doctrine do not walk in obedience to God because they are in love with themselves not our heavenly Father.
It is true that the message of the cross is a message of grace and love but it is also one of death! Death to self. Death to personal ambitions that are in conflict with the will of God. It is a message of obedience, motivated by loving devotion and selfless sacrifice. It is a message that recognized that He is sovereign. That our “above all” thought should be to please God.
My goal in writing this hub is to strengthen your walk with God by exposing a lie that has creeped in to some churches. You may already be aware of its presence. If you are not then let me warn you so that you will not be ensnared by its subtle trap as I have been. For God is indeed forgiving, loving, and slow to anger. We are certainly saved by Grace through faith apart from works. However....faith without works is dead! (James 2:20)
I was listening to a song recently that grabbed my attention. The song is called “Above All”. It is a beautiful song that talks about the love of Christ towards us. It states that Christ’s above all thought in going to the cross was me! Here is the chorus.
“Above All” Song by Paul Baloche and Lenny Leblanc.
”Crucified, laid behind the stone.
You lived and died, rejected and alone.
Like a Rose, trampled on the ground.
You took the fall and thought of me
Although I am loved by our savior more then I could possibly understand. Scripture does not teach that I was was his above all thought. Nor was it the fate of humanity. I believe humanity was heavy on his mind, that indeed, he understood that it was for our sake that he must die. However, Christ set his eyes and will towards the cross and embraced death out of his love for God the Father. His “Above all" desire was not to save humanity but to do the will of God.
But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Alarmed, I began to think of several other sentiments that came to mind that insinuate that Christ was thinking of me, that is was specifically His love for me that sent him to the cross. Tell me if you ever heard any of these saying?
• Someone asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?”
“This much,” Jesus replied and then he stretched out his arms and died.
• Jesus died on the cross just for you!
• His great love for you is why Christ died, you’re the reason he was crucified.
• They needn’t have nailed him to the cross.
His love for me, glued him to that Roman tree.
You see it was God who was thinking of humanity. While this is great, and I love it! It is only part of a complete picture. Jesus's "Above All" thoughts were not of me but of God. According to John 3:16 GOD loved humanity and did not want to see them die in their sin so he sent his son to die for those who would believe! But to bring balance, we read in John 14:31, humanity must learn that Jesus is obedient in all things because he loves God. This was spoken to those who followed Christ or those who believed! It is Christ's love for God as seen through his obedience that completes this picture.
Jesus is telling us to follow his example. Take a moment and consider the following words of Jesus:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
"If you love me, you will obey what I command"
"If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love."
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.
Some may ask me “Isn’t Jesus God?” Yes he is! Totally and completely! However, Christ is also totally and completely human. It is from his Humanity that we must take our example. The Human part of Christ acknowledged the sovereignty of God and submitted his will just as we must do. From this perspective we are shown how we are to relate to God.
Jesus was tempted and suffered both physically and mentally just as we do! He understood that he had to die to self to live for God! He died to self every day of his life. We see it most vividly in the last hours before his arrest. Jesus asked God to let the cup of death pass from him. To spare him from the cross. We understand from this that God was asking him to do something he’d rather not do. However, after making his wishes known he says, “Never the less, not my will, but thine be done!” Powerful words! He meant what he said. He stayed right there in the garden for Judas to find him. He could have left at any time. Instead he remained obedient to God by staying put.
What are we to take from this? Jesus's personal will was something different then God's. However, he loved God so much he was willing to set aside his personal will/desire in order to be obedient to God the father. Jesus's love of God was his "Above All" motivation..
We see a very different doctrine being taught in some churches today. It is Humanism disguised as grace and is a justification for self-centered lifestyles that see men as gods. Christ placed God as the center, or better yet, at the head! He walked in obedience. He loved God more than himself and found doing his will the true source of joy
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In closing, I acknowledge fully the love of Christ for his people.
Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
However, I ask myself and indeed all who are reading this writing, “Who is sovereign, God or man?” If you believe as I do that God is sovereign then I ask, “Have we followed Christ’s example and placed him at the center of our life? Is our highest purpose in life to do His will over our own? Is our love for God seen through our obedience to his Word?”
I leave you with this last thought. Child–Centered Parenting leads to spoiled, undisciplined, and ungrateful children, who see themselves as the most important member of the family. When grown, they feel as though society must serve them just as their parents did. In the same way, Man-centered theology leads to self-centered, undisciplined followers who, Instead of Christ, see humanity and themselves at the center of the church and the “Above All “ most important thing in God's Kingdom.
It is my prayer that God be our Master and that we would place Him and His Word “Above all”
Your Brother in Christ
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