Tuesday, April 15, 2008

God Saves Sinners

One of the oldest heresies in history of the church is Gnosticism. Gnosis means knowledge, and Gnosticism is the heresy that teaches or assumes or believes that holiness and salvation are primarily or entirely related to information or propositions that people think in their minds or believe in their hearts. Of course people don’t go around introducing themselves as Gnostics; it comes out when people either devalue the physical or conclude that they are altogether irrelevant. In the early church Gnostics tended to extreme asceticism, denying their bodies everything because they were evil and got in the way of true spirituality or they would indulge in whatever pleasures or activities they wanted because their bodies were merely along for the ride. What really matters, they all agreed, was inside the mind, inside the soul. Modern day Gnostics take these same forms. It doesn’t matter what my clothes look like, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters. It doesn’t matter what my hair looks like, God looks at the heart. It doesn’t matter how I look, my faith is all that God cares about, as though faith were a little fuzzy spot inside your belly. And this is not at all to suggest that you must look a certain way first before God will begin working on you. God begins his work on corpses, people who are dead and rotting in the grave. God saves sinners, and therefore it’s no surprise that sinners often look like it. But it will not do for covenant children to grow up as the royal sons and daughters of the King and begin wishing they could go back to looking like lost and confused dead people. God does not just want your minds or your hearts. God wants all of you. He wants you to love him with your clothing, with your jewelry, with your hair, with your imagination, with all that you are. None of it is irrelevant, and God has given it to you as a great gift. Therefore rejoice in these gifts: serve God with your bodies. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

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