Gleanings from the Lectionary (12/2/11) – Denial is not a River

Jude 1-16

“Contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Jude wants to write of good news but instead gives warning. There are within the Body, and therefore hard to see, those designated for condemnation. They are perverting the faith. Grace is unmerited favor, not license. Some thought “sin boldly. All is forgiven.” Some thought “sin boldly. The greatness of the sin forgiven only magnifies the greatness of the forgiver.” Both are utterly wrong as a basis for sin. Freedom is not freedom to rebel and sin.

We live in age inclined to licentiousness. Multiple factors contribute to this but the self-esteem movement deserves accolades for all that it has achieved. The same movement that gave us a trophy for every participant (now of equal size and value?) affirms the decisions of every individual. To do otherwise would shatter one’s self-confidence. Who are we to say to someone, “that is ungodly!”?

But it is the ungodly that Jesus came to save. That is what Jude wanted to say. This is good news, make that great news, if you are ungodly. And of course we all are, ungodly that is. In our day we have gone well beyond the somewhat logical but flawed reasoning of Jude’s day. Both positions in that day presupposed the problem of sin. We on the other hand have eliminated sin from our discourse. In 1937 H. Richard Nieburh wrote: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” Little in sin discourse has been recovered in the 74 years since.

Even a short relationship with me reveals my love for Disney. It is a place of respite from the reality that is our lives. Following Disney, the church has become a respite from the reality that is our lives. We are sometimes hostile to our faith and morality. We are at least always self-serving and such that even our altruism, when achieved, isn’t pure. We get something for ourselves. Quietly, inwardly, we’ve counted the cost (and estimated the return). I take no pride in that. But I must begin there if I want to experience the salvation about which Jude wanted to speak. Let no false teacher, even one with good hair and bright teeth, tell you otherwise.

One Response to “Gleanings from the Lectionary (12/2/11) – Denial is not a River”

  • Doug Warren Says:

    As someone who has won his fair
    share of trophies over the past decades,
    I have never been a proponent of the
    “commemorative participatory trophy
    movement” which rewards exactly nothing.
    Never knew my disapproval was rooted in
    biblical ethics however. 🙂 Well written, and
    even more, I agree with everything you said!

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