Kneel Before the Cross with an Attitude of Gratitude.

Kneel Before the Cross with an Attitude of Gratitude. October 5, 2021

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by ArtFortheGloryofGod

Give to Caesar what belongs to caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. Jesus Christ.

American Christians have been led by self-seeking, power-hungry fallen clergy and light-weight professional “apologists”  of both the political right and the political left into the bizarre heresy of rendering unto Caesar that which is God’s and calling it righteousness.

The practice of conflating one’s political opinions with Jesus Christ and following up by proclaiming that everyone and anyone who has a different political opinion is a demon-possessed sinner who is doomed to spend eternity in hell has pervaded our churches, our politics and our personal interactions. The bitterness this breeds is driving people away from the Church and has destroyed many people’s relationship with Christ. 

Instead of following Him and kneeling in grateful humility before the Cross, these people are puffed up with their own self-righteousness. They are so full of hate for their fellow Christians that many of them have begun to advocate violence, sedition and social mayhem. 

Self-anointed professional Christian apologists go at one another with ad hominem internet attacks. These same “apologists” issue bald-faced statements that unless one is a political “conservative” or, on the other hand, if one is a political  “conservative” they are outside the body of Christ and in league with the devil. 

I could expend quite a bit of verbiage on the term “conservative” and its fellow traveler, “liberal.” Suffice it to say that the words, as they are used today, don’t mean either “conservative” or “liberal” in the classic sense. They are, rather, placeholder terms for brain-dead true believers in what has become de facto political cults. Neither of these cults is Christian. Those who slavishly follow them are not and cannot be following Christ since they not only go in a different direction than the Gospels, they substitute their godless politics for Jesus Christ. 

Beyond that simple statement, I’m going to leave the discussion of “conservative” and “liberal” for a different time. 

The point for this post is simply that your politics do not make you a Christian. You are a Christian because you accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ and Him crucified over your life. 

What that means, in simple, every day practice, is that (a) you know that you are a sinner, (b) you know that Jesus saves you and you say “yes” to His salvation, (c) you trust what He said in the Gospels to guide you as you go through this passage to eternity that we call life. 

It’s not easy, following the Gospels. The Sermon on the Mount alone is a bound-to-fail challenge. No one can do what Jesus commands all the time and perfectly. No one. 

When you read what Jesus said we would have to answer for at the Judgement, if you are even a tiny bit honest with yourself, you know that you have failed over and over again and that you will continue to do so. 

But here’s the thing.

You only have to try.

And when you try, you will become part of the long centuries of Christian effort that has improved the human condition through imperfect but sincere discipleship. And when you falter or fail, as you must, all you have to do is ask God for forgiveness and then get up and try again.

Jesus said, come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. 

Trying to be perfect enough for God is not only a heavy burden and a lot of labor; it is doomed to fail. But you don’t have to be perfect enough for God. Jesus took care of that at Calvary. 

That’s why you kneel in humility before the Cross. It is your get out of hell free card. It is your gateway to eternal life in heaven. 

You kneel in humility because you know you can never earn this salvation, this rest, with your own efforts. You know you are doomed to fail. 

You kneel in gratitude because Jesus paid a horrible price to earn it for you. He gives you the reward for what you cannot do for yourself.

That is Christianity. 

Politics has nothing to do with it. 

Read the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes with an attitude of gratitude. Read it as someone who has just been given a totally unearned get out of hell free card by the God Who made the universe and Who stooped all the way down to earth to become human to give you that card. Read what this God told us with humility and gratefulness, and you can’t help but want to do what it says as best you can.

A fool can see that the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes are describing heaven on earth. If we could actually do what Jesus told us to do, we could create heaven right here, right now, on this earth. 

No one would be hungry, poor, unloved, exploited or shunned. No one would suffer the many ignoble fates we heap on one another. 

The prisons could close. There would be no need for governments, politics, or churches. We could all live in the Spirit.

That is how we will live one day. That is heaven. 

But for now, we are stuck with our ornery selves, and we would do well to remember that each one of us is in fact a sinner and a failure at being a Christian. Scripture says there is none righteous, no, not one … and … your righteousness is as filthy rags before God. 

Your politics will not save you. 

Your politics can only condemn you if you put your politics in the place of God.

Some of your political opinions will be wrong. Some of your political opinions will be right. But none of your political opinions will give you eternal life.

Christian “apologists” who conflate politics with Christianity are saying something that is absolutely untrue. They may not realize it. They may be sincerely wrong. But they are saying a lie. 

Whatever you do in life, from the smallest things to the most public, is your witness to who you are and what you believe. If you sincerely and honestly do what you can to make life better for people, if you use your precious time in this life to love and live with the free joy of someone whose eternal debt is paid by the God Who loves them, then you are walking the Christian walk. 

Scripture tells us that people judge by the outward appearances of things but God judges by the innermost heart. God knows why you do what you do. He knows what you intend. That is what He will judge. 

So don’t be afraid of nattering legalists, whether they are priests, apologists or your carping family member. Just pray for them and ask God to help them walk His way. 

These are disturbing times. Our religious leaders are themselves disturbed. Many of them are rather obviously struggling in their own walk of faith. Many of them have lost their way. 

Conflating Christ with politics is a political power play. It is often about money. It is also about ego. It is an example of how the devil whispers bad advice and dissimulation to people who are talented and smart enough to do great harm and then uses them to do that harm.

Don’t fall for it. That is not the way that leads to eternal life. 

Remember who you are, that you are dust. Remember that you cannot be perfect as God is perfect. Remember that your freedom from the cycle of failure is purchased at a great price, and be grateful.

Kneel before the Cross in humility and gratitude. Then live the life that God has given you without fear of the angry, lost spiritual bullies who have forgotten that there is a God, and they aren’t Him. 

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