The False Price of Christian Membership

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Psalm 78:1-4, 52-72

Exodus 16:27-36

Acts 15:1-5, 22-35

You Must Obey…who?

church-fathers-1Ah, the silly fathers of the early church. So lost so confused. So sad. They really mucked up a lot of things for the rest of us from the very beginning.

We never should have had to “do” anything to “be” a “Christian”. No pledge of faith, no outward mark or sign, no public declaration, no baptisms… none of these things “make” a “Christian”. The sad fact is that there was never anything that any of us could do or say to “earn” us God’s Grace and love. It is a free gift (Rom 5:16-17, 6:23), and cannot be earned!

However, from the very first days of the Christian church, the church fathers screwed it all up and made it something to “earn” and “keep”.

For instance, we read in Acts 15:

  • One faction of early church father’s (mostly converted Pharisaic Jews) demanded that all male converts, including Gentiles, must conform to and obey the Law of Moses (Torah). They believed that no man could be truly “Christian” without conforming to the rite of circumcision. That’s a tough sales pitch to any adult male, Gentile or not.
  • Then there was another faction that believed that forcing non-Jewish males to be circumcised was wrong, yet they still required certain standards of their own: no eating of food sacrificed at altars, no eating animals that were strangled as part of their butchering, and no sexual immorality.

While it may seem that the anti-circumcision group was being a little more reasonable, both groups were wrong. Dead wrong.

For you see, Yeshua the Anointed (“Jesus Christ” to the unfamiliar) gave no such requirements on behavior. There was nothing that should be “done” to prove your “Christian status” except one, just one, demand:

The True Cost of Membership

John 13

34. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Become, Belove, Behold

No creeds, no secret handshake, no circumcision, no baptism, no anointing, no ritual… just… love!

“Being Christian” is not about something you can earn, it is about becoming something. It is about becoming the kind of soul that loves others as Christ loved us.

And it is so much harder than reciting a creed or eating a wafer.

To “be Christian” is to become love, to belove God and the universal family of God, and to behold True Grace as it flows from you to the world.

For the sake of the world and all the people in it.

Not for your sake.

Never for your sake.

That’s “being Christian”.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. If we don’t have to confess with our mouths and believe it in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord like the scripture says in Romans 10;9 and salvation is given weather we want it or not then why would there be any need for a judgment day? As far as the majority of the other things the gosple tells us we should or shouldn’t do doesn’t love for your Father and your neighbor doesn’t love cover most of it?

    • The need for “judgement day” is the refinement of the person into more and more a likeness with Christ and God. I don’t believe that “judgement day” is reserved for some period after life, I believe it is also encountered every single day through this life as well.

      God’s Grace and mercy is not a “get off scot-free card”. There will still be judgement, and there still will be punishment, but not for the sake of retribution or destruction, but a refinement, a restoration of the soul from its sinful choices.

      That is divine mercy. Salvation from annihilation, from death, and the healing and atonement that will come at the loving right hand of God, the lamb, the word, known as love. Divine mercy does not mean salvation from the consequences of your life here on Earth. There will be a reckoning of your life, and there will be restorative consequences.

      To confess Christ and believe he is Lord means to confess love and believe that to love is to be like Christ, Lord of all things, as all things are made through love. (See my comment reply to Margaret for more thoughts on this similar topic: http://www.epochalypsis.org/the-false-price-of-christian-membership/comment-page-2/#comment-4592)

    • Redemption is not “Whether we want it or not” – we are always free to reject it. It is without price, though – the free gift of God’s love. Nothing that we can do is good enough to “earn” redemption, or bad enough that God does not have the power to redeem us.

      • Who would reject it? When confronted by love about the choices made in our own lives with the opportunity at redemption, who could stand before the great white throne and deny it?

  2. This is exactly how I feel! It feels truly amazing too. There’s so much we (as a people) need to learn. We should be a reflection of Christ’s love for our fellow man.

  3. Michael McKibbin says:

    I just read quickly, so if I missed a point I apologize. I am confused with my faith. I have gone to church growing up. I heard the priest say that Jesus taught the greatest thing we could do was to love one another. Confusion set in when I see few of us carry that out in daily life. We even fight and argue about laws that bring equality of love to all. When it seems there are times to promote Christianity – ie anti bullying. You see Christians fight against it….saying it will make our nation “soft” – i am guessing they mean soft as in not strong. I believe love makes us stronger. Hatred and ignorance makes us “soft”.

    Let us move forward from today loving one another. Growing stronger in love. There is a song “They will know we are Christians by our love…” May we all sing that song. And help each other.

    Sorry for the long note….your words and thoughts, Trig, are exemplary.

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Michael.

      Yes, there has been a Great Bamboozling of Christianity. “They” took the Word of love, the soft lamb, who, while beaten and bloody, was begging God for his attackers’ forgiveness, an act which shocks the hard-hearts of the world to this day… and replaced him with a vengeful, kick-ass, Lion.

      True strength is not lashing out in anger or fear, or even defense, but let your meekness and your confidence in the justice of God shock and offend your attackers in the light of their brutality.

      I talk more about this identity theft here: http://www.epochalypsis.org/christian-warrior-porn-take-the-lamb-back/

  4. The Jews in the time of Jesus had hundred of commandments, a minutiae of regulations for the tiniest household things, and they thought that God would fulfil his covenant with them if everyone obeyed the rules. What does Jesus do? He comes along, heals people on the Sabbath, breaks all the rules eating with sinner and then gives just one commandment; “Love one another.” That’s why they got him crucified.

    • It still might get one crucified. The world-systems of domination and oppression don’t like liberating messages, equality, and love very much…

      Power needs to be maintained. Control firmly established through liberal use of the biggest stick ever devised in human history: everlasting conscious torture in Hell.

      Throw away the overbearing rules for the light of truth and love, like Christ did, and they know can’t beat you with the myth of hell anymore, so then they simply beat you.

  5. @ Val: The Jews did not “get him crucified”. Crucifixion is very far from any kind of Jewish thinking. If this were about Jews acting against him because he wasn’t Torah observant, they would lash him (as Paul claims they did to him) but surely not crucify him.

    The Romans crucified him for sedition. He was a revolutionary who was attracting a huge following and the Romans were tyrannical occupiers and cruel oppressors, in no mood for popular revolution. And that is why he was crucified–with ‘King of the Jews’ at the top of the cross. This was about Romans putting down political opposition to their rule.

    However… even though he did not succeed in freeing Israel from Roman oppression, he did teach about the centrality of love, and that message is spiritually accurate and eternal.

    Does one have to observe the other commandments of the Torah? This was an internal argument among the early Christians. Matthew quotes Yeshu as saying one does, and the 5,000 followers of Yeshu who were part of the Jerusalem church headed by James the brother of Yeshu also observed the commandments (as James himself says in Acts). Paul obviously disagrees. So this was a big argument. Eventually Paul’s position prevailed, to no small extent because due one result of the Jewish revolutions against Roman rule is that Jerusalem was destroyed, and along with it the center of Torah-observant Christians.

    Trig, author of the original post, clearly accepts Paul’s position. And he is of course entitled to express his view that he finds Paul’s position appealing. It is interesting to read people’s points of view on faith. But to say that the church fathers all got it wrong, that they were “silly… lost and confused” and he has it right… hmmm…

    That being said, this Jew thinks that one who lives a life of gratitude and love of God and love of others has attained what both Judaism and Christianity are ultimately seeking to bring us to.

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