We Don’t Need Another Hero

We don’t need another hero.  We need a Savior, one who possessed “no form or majesty that we should look at him,” and yet bore our sins (Isaiah 53:2-3).  In fact, we need to be saved from our own hero worship, whether of ourselves or others.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 165

More Than Heroes, We Need a…

Of course, we need people to look up to, especially in an age of acute ambition – which is another good reason to have older saints, mentoring the younger.  More than heroes, though, we need a Savior.  Then we also need ordinary people around us who exemplify godly qualities and take the time to invest in our lives.  Paul even called his young apprentices and churches to follow his example.  Yet the characteristics he mentions are his undistracted focus on the gospel, humility, love for all the saints and contentment (II Thessalonions 3:9)

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 154-155

Legalism Is Just Another Word for Licentiousness

Setting aside the obvious objection that Christ settled all our accounts, once for all such [legalistic] groups inevitably start with the narcissistic presupposition mentioned earlier – simply that Christianity is all about cleaning up and doing your part.  These groups focus primarily (in my experience, almost exclusively) on our sin, and not only our Savior.  Because of this, they breed self-righteousness, guilt and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend, or to be less than hones.  Little or no attention is given to the gospel.  There’s no reminder of what Christ has done for our sin – cleansing us from its guilt and power – and of the resources that are already ours by virtue of our union with Him.  These groups thrive, either intentionally or not, on a “do more, try harder” moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 66

Be Thou My Light and Peace

O Savior of the World, God of God, Light of light, Thou that art The Brightness of Thy Father’s glory, and the express Image of his person; Thou that art the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End of all things; Thou that has destroyed the power of the devil, that hast overcome death; Thou that art entered into the Holy of Holies, that sittest at the right hand of the Father, that art high above all thrones and principalities, that makest intercession for all the world; Thou that art the judge of the quick and the dead; Thou that wilt speedily come down in the Father’s glory to reward all men according to their works, be Thou my light and my peace, etc.

Williams Law

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 169

So, Why Does the Church Exist?

The church exists in order to change the subject from us and our deeds to God and His deeds of salvation, from our various missions to save the world to Christ’s mission that has already accomplished redemption.  He sends us into the world, to be sure, but not to save it.  Rather, He sends us into the world to witness to Christ as the only Savior and to love and serve our neighbor in our secular vocations.  Evil lies not outside us but inside; it is salvation that comes from outside ourselves.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 141

The American Church is at a Fork

My concern is that we are getting dangerously close to the place in everyday American church life where the Bible is mined for “relevant” quotes but is largely irrelevant on its own terms;  God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshiped, and trusted;  Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us; Salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God Himself; and the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all that we can be.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 19

Are You Avoiding Him as Savior?

If you’re avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless you and save you, then you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model and helper, but ironically you are avoiding him as Savior.  You are trusting your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your standing with God.

– Tim Keller, Reason for God

as quoted by Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 56