Reading My Utmost for His Highest this morning and came across this gem:
The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the disposition of self-realization – I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself. When Our Lord faced men with all the forces of evil in them, and men who were clean living and moral and up right, He did not pay any attention to the moral degradation of the one or to the moral attainment of the other; He looked at something we do not see, viz., the disposition
This is so key. I cannot stress enough how important this distinction is. It is not merely semantics, but substance. This is the heart of razing and demolishing the fortress that is Christless Christianity. This is such an important nail to drive hard into the crusty surface of a post-Christian culture like ours in the United States. I believe this to be one of the most central, more over-looked anchors of the Christian faith: the bad guys in the Gospel narratives are not the bad people. They are the MOST moral people in the story. The most upright and dedicated to civility.
We often overlook that Jesus came to destroy BOTH indecorous immorality against God AND decorous morality against God.
All of it. All we offer. All of it is our death. Whether we reject Him by running away from His Law or we reject Him by pursuing the Law to avoid Him altogether. You can hit the accelerator and speed away from the cops who are trying to pull you over for violation of the Law or you can drive the speed limit to avoid interacting with the cops altogether. The latter is more decorous, the former more dangerous. It is clear that the one fleeing the cops is a god to himself, following his own desires (and he will have many petitioning him to forego his desires for the better desires of others). It is the latter whom we largely ignore. We don’t care why you obey the Law, just obey it. As long as you do not cause trouble, we have no reason to confront you. Yet Jesus deals death blows to both positions in revealing that the decorous pursuit of piety and the indecorous pursuit of partying are indistinguishable in the god they serve; SELF.
There is more than one way to give God the finger. You can extend your middle finger as you turn your hand around and flip Him off or you can raise your index finger high and taunt, “I’m number one!” As long as you are your own god you will never surrender your desires to God’s Law or Gospel. As long as you have the final say with regard to all things considering yourself, you have not a God who reigns on high, but one who feigns inside. Not a prayer to be lifted up, but a self with whom to consult within. You have no Counselor, merely comforters.
Your right to yourself is the last battle to be fought. The last surrender comes not on the scene of decoration but disposition. To whom do you belong? Forego your rights in order to secure righteousness. By grace and through faith obey and live for God.
***By the by, did anyone notice that every blog this past week was brought to you by the letter "a"? I noticed this after publishing the Wednesday post and of course, pastorally inclined as I am, felt the need to purposefully mine out "a" list titles for the TH-F posts. You're welcome! Have a nice weekend. Or should I say in keeping with this past week's penchant: "another weekend? make it nice."***