” 1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” –2 Tim. 3:1-5
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –Philippians 2:9-11
“…It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.[a]’[b] 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” -Acts 4:10-12
“…Anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father (John 14:9).” –Jesus
There is an unfortunate fad today in American culture, and not just in the culture but in the Church, that if we are “moral” or “good”, that somehow we “deserve” heaven…if such a place exists. I happen to believe that Heaven does exist. So because I believe it is a real place, do I “deserve” it? If I work every day and make sure that I do good to others and wrong as few people as possible, do I “deserve” eternal life in heaven? Wouldn’t a “good” God WANT me to have such blessings? Yes, a good God DOES want me to have those blessings…but NO, I do NOT deserve the blessing of heaven.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:8-10
Perhaps one would say something like this…perhaps YOU’RE saying something like this: “Well hold on Mr “all-of-a-sudden-blog-happy guy!” Do you presume to tell ME what I do and do not deserve!!??”
No. I am not the judge of any person. But I can speak of what the Righteous Judge says. Even more poignant than what He says for the purposes of this post, what He DID.
When we believe that we somehow deserve the blessings of God because of our “good” deeds or actions, we give in to the most ancient of vices: pride. Or perhaps we believe we deserve good because we have been wronged so much that our due is finally here. “God OWES me” something! Whether that pride be in the misperception of our self being practically perfect by our own deeds, or that pride be in our failures and sufferings and the “I’m only human” excuse, we remain lost in a world of generic morality.
Why do I say “generic morality”? Because that’s all our “good” deeds have the power to produce. In essence we are powerless, despite the many “self-help” books, programs, and even service projects out there. Without the true transforming power of the Living Savior through His regenerative work in our hearts and minds through the Person of the Holy Spirit, we have NO HOPE for lasting, eternal transformational good in and/or through us.
If we presume we can accomplish good without the Person and Name of Jesus being spoken, we deceive ourselves and we set OUR programs, OUR thoughts, OUR wisdom, OUR advice, OUR plans as the saving agents for humanity. EXIT Jesus’ resurrection, Spirit-led power…ENTER humanistic/man-centered “power”.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” –John 18:4-6
Do we truly want to be the people spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:5: “having a form of godliness but denying its power”?! The power here isn’t necessarily in awesome signs & wonders, but the power of a changed, repentant heart that knows how to love in the NAME of Jesus, NOT the name of self, the name of some good program, or the name of some ambiguous moral agency/non-profit organization.
“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
If we eliminate the Lord of the morals and ethics we hold to so dearly, will not those morals and ethics just become mere “principles of choice” among the smorgasbord of many other “good” religions, moral codes, and mantras to live by? We eliminate the awesome power and presence of the Creator of the Universe and the awesome grace of His Son through whom EVERY human being may find salvation, and we gain…anti-drum role please…a generic morality.
With our new found generic morality people may “like” us. They’ll even like our Facebook pages and perhaps follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites. Heck, they may even give us a second chance because we FINALLY got over all that “Jesus/Bible” babbling! They may even come to our group meetings, our churches, and BBQ’s! But will they know the awesome saving power of the grace of JESUS? Or will they simply know you and me, never ever meeting Jesus, because WE were in the way? Problem is WE aren’t enough…
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” -John 15:18-21
So, before we decide to walk in the ease and comfort of “generic morality”, let’s remember that the Name of Jesus holds true, life transforming Power and Promise. We may face Persecution for the NAME OF JESUS, but let’s run our race with Perseverance, not compromising His Name(s) for some generic, cheaper, impotent, ineffective morality.
His name is Jesus…Jesus saves. NOT me and my morality.