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Bumper Stickers

Matthew 25:13
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
NIV


Bumper Stickers

Over the time this site has been operational, I have attempted to post good solid teaching lessons without a lot of editorial comments, although as I recently was led to do in regard to Newsweek's recent cover story, I do express some strong opinions. In fact, I learned in response to the editorial on the Holy Books that National Geographics magazine ran a cover story in December on Abraham, basically concluding that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism worshiped the same God!

The above "quote" was on a bumper sticker that passed me on the highway the other night. Based upon the other pictures and sayings posted on the auto, this particular sticker is a political statement, not a religious statement. The car was clearly a democratic (as opposed to a republican). I presume the bumper sticker is meant to be translated as a remark against the moral majority – Christian coalition – pro-life groups. In other words, the democrats are calling upon God to protect them from the evangelical, conservative Christian movements.

What the bumper sticker raised in my mind was a wonderment over the loose use of God's name and the lack of unity, if there ever was any, within the community of believers. For, doesn't the bumper sticker imply those who would display it believe in God and, thus, in the unity of His followers?

Or, does it?

Those who have spent any time on this site should realize the Bible teaches there are only two classes of people – those who believe in and trust in and follow Jesus Christ and those who do not.

John 3:18 (NIV)
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

The entire book of Romans is really a theological statement on this difference. But, within the group of unbelievers, there are multi-levels of views. There are the tares, those who look to be Christian, profess a belief in Christ, and yet, have not accepted Him in biblical terms. These are the tares of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt 13:24-30) or the man without the wedding clothes of Matthew's parable of the wedding feast (22:1ff) or the five virgins left behind (Matt 25:1ff). These people call themselves Christian, but are not.

A second group is those who are religious and believe in "God." These are cults and world religions that have some faith practice but do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and heaven. This would include Islam, a religion based somewhat in the Bible, yet, not enough to recognize the true teaching of God and certainly not enough to accept Jesus for Who He is.

Another group are those who believe in the concept of God but who follow no organized religious practice. This group would include, in my opinion, many people calling themselves New Agers. They have a vague notion of a spiritual nature, but have no focus on god, and certainly no concept of the God of the Bible.

There is also, of course, a group who profess not to believe in God. The interesting thing about this group, upon closer examination, is that what they really believe is that God's existence cannot be proven. This allows them to conclude that God is unimportant in the scheme of life, so they simply ignore Him. This is easier then truly being an atheist.

Paul really hints at a breakdown very similar to this in Romans. Starting at Romans 1:18 Paul discusses those who are atheists, agnostic, or simply ignoring God. At the beginning of chapter 2, the Apostle moves on the to "good" or "moral" person, and then finishes the chapter with the religious person. None of them have found a righteous standing with God. None are in fellowship with him, although many of these groups believe they are "ok."

What makes all of this of great concern is that Paul's conclusions are the same for each group. God has made himself known to each individual person ever born. It is the individual's responsibility to seek God, not to ignore Him. While parts of this process cannot be explained in our terms, God will "find" each person who seeks Him. This is a matter of the heart, not of belonging to a church or other religious body.

This brings us back to the wheat and the tares – and to our bumper sticker.

Do you worry about the body of Christ? Doesn't it bother you when surveys report Christian divorce rates are the same as the secular world? Or the Christians do this and that at the same rate as the rest of the world? Yes, there are some fundamental differences in theology, such as over dispensations, or foreknowing, or the end times, but these should not affect the basic way you live as a Christian. Nor, should they cause a fracture in the Christian body.

Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is mostly about the creation of fractures and divisions. Paul's goal in this letter is to heal the body and bring them back into fellowship, both with each other and with God. Shouldn't this be our goal as well? Contending for the Faith is certainly the process of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world, no matter which segment of unbelief a person may occupy. But, doesn't contending for the faith also involve healing the body of Christ? Every believer will one day stand together in heaven.

Spiritual things are more important than politics. Every Christian should be a good citizen. But, God and the body of Christ come first, America second. If that bumper sticker, or one like it is on your car, I challenge you to put the body of Christ first. Get rid of the bumper sticker!!

And, if you do not believe you can remove the bumper sticker, then I challenge you to examine your heart. You are not living like a Christian, contending for the faith of Christ and preserving unity in the body of believers. Maybe, just maybe, in this case, you are not really one of God's children?! Maybe you need to re-examine your relationship with Jesus?

 

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