“Let him begin by treating patriotism… as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely a part of the ‘cause,’ in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce…” – C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters, Chapter 7
American Christians are seeking to impact their culture through the legislative power of the State, rather than by actually loving, living, and serving the way Jesus commanded.
Much of Christian history has manifested a very different god than the one Jesus revealed and represented. Jesus tells us to love our enemies, but this “cultural” god sure doesn’t. Jesus tells us to forgive “seventy times seven” times, but this god doesn’t. Instead, this god burns people for all eternity.
Last month I wrote a blog post inspired by Luke 18:15-17 that notes a teaching in this passage for adults is that we need to unlearn many of the things we believe about the world and God. Poet Daryl Madden has written a poem called Unlearn that, as poetry tends to do, conveys what I was writing in a more memorable way. After reading this poem you might consider subscribing to the site, you will get one of Daryl’s poems sent to your email each day.
Jesus was precisely the “once and for all” (Hebrews 7: 27) sacrifice given to reveal the lie and absurdity of the very notion and necessity of “sacrificial” religion itself. Heroic sacrifices to earn God’s love are over! That’s much of the point of Hebrews 10 if you are willing to read it with new eyes.
This is God’s unimaginable restorative justice. God does not love you if and when you change. God loves you so that you can change. That is the true storyline of the Gospel.