The Danger of “Christianness”

Gripped by this selection from Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves:

“. . . we naturally gravitate, it seems, toward anything but Jesus–and Christians almost as much as anyone–whether it’s ‘the Christian worldview,’ ‘grace,’ ‘the Bible’ or ‘the gospel,’ as if they were things in themselves that could save us.  Even ‘the cross’ can get abstracted from Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own.  Other things, wonderful things, vital concepts, beautiful discoveries so easily edge Jesus aside.  Precious theological concepts meant to describe him and his work get treated as things in their own right.  He becomes just another brick in the wall.  But the center, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown of Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even ‘the gospel’ as such.  It is Jesus Christ.

“He is not a mere topic, a subject we can pick out from a menu of options.  Without him, our gospel or our system– however coherent, ‘grace-filled or ‘Bible-based’–simply is not Christian.  It will only be Christian to the extent that it is about him, and then what we make of him will govern what we mean by the word gospel.  I’m going to dare to say, in fact, that most of our Christian problems and errors of thought come about precisely through forgetting or marginalizing Christ.  That is, that despite all our apparent Christianness, we fail to build our lives and thoughts upon the Rock.

“I can’t put it any better than the Scottish preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who wrote to a friend with this advice:  ‘Learn much of the Lord Jesus.  For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.  He is altogether lovely.  Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief.  Live much in the smiles of God.  Bask in his beams.  Fell His all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in His almighty arms . . . Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense of the sweetness and excellency of Christ and all that is in Him.'” (pp10-11)

Let’s be careful that, in seeing the gospel, we don’t miss Jesus.

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