In our conversation on church restoration it is important that we examine our foundation. How many home renovation shows have you watched where the drama of the episode focused on a major and unforeseen problem with the foundation. Everything looked good on the outside but underneath it all, there were cracks.
We have to examine our foundation and my concern is that over time we have shifted our foundation to a system that we were profoundly confident in.
If our certainty is founded on and is in a system we can act like we have certainty but underneath it all is extreme anxiety and uncertainty. Christians in our fellowship (Churches of Christ) so often seem certain in our teaching but very uncertain about our salvation. When the home inspector comes and finds that to be the case, she has found crack # 1…like stairstep cracks in a block wall, it is symptomatic that something underneath has shifted and the house is sinking. Things need to be shored up.
Systems have inconsistencies and where those inconsistencies crop us we have to do something to hold it all together…either question the system or twist things up to keep the system in place.
We need to deconstruct the system and see what we are left with, what is true vs what is tradition.
Then we need to reconstruct something far more robust with a new foundation…no longer will the foundation be the SYSTEM. The foundation will be the SAVIOR. He isn’t inconsistent and He cannot be twisted. We must conform to Him rather than Him to us. Systems and Saviors don’t operate the same way. Praise God!
Paul wrote this in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15,
“10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
The only foundation the house can be built on is Jesus. Period. If we move away from that we move to uncertainty. Uncertainty is always present when things depend on imperfection and impotence. We move to anxiety. Fear. Worry. That is a gospel that isn’t the Gospel. If you use church as Gospel rather than Jesus as Gospel, you have shifted the foundation. If you preach salvation coming through attendance in the proper church rather than salvation coming through Jesus and the work of the Spirit, you have another gospel.
We need to go back to the Bible, look at the word “Gospel” and define it as the Bible defines it and preach that message. Instead, we have often defined gospel in terms comfortable with our tradition and conformed the Word to our work. That is crack #2. The home inspector is going to find it. As Paul said, that doesn’t mean the house is doomed…it just means it is compromised.
Once we make the move from system to savior, we will finally find certainty, peace, and lack of fear/anxiety about our salvation. The system lends itself to judgment and fear. The Savior lends himself to grace and peace.
What/Who his your faith in?