Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Sign, A Lie

I will admit, there was a day when I thought church signs were clever. It was a long time ago.

Mostly I find them obnoxious and even embarrassing. What I want to know is, what's going through the mind of the person who sticks those little letters up every week? Do they honestly believe that some non-Christian is going to drive by and see the marquee proclaiming, "Our Sundays Are Better Than Dairy Queen!" and think, "Wow--what a cool church! I should visit there this weekend!"?????? The lame-ness of these signs is sometimes stupefying. One down the road from our house currently reads, "The Best Vitamin For a Christian: B1." How brilliantly profound.

But today I saw a church sign that didn't make me roll my eyes or shake my head in bafflement. It made me angry and sad:

"A lot of time kneeling puts you in good standing."

Did anyone give any amount of thought to what that sign is proclaiming? Worse, do they really believe that a certain number of hours spent in prayer will improve your standing before God? Do they truly think He ranks you on a checklist and His approval of you rises and falls based on the minutes you clocked or didn't clock in prayer today?

So many Christians believe the lie that although we couldn't earn our salvation, we can earn our day-to-day standing before God once we're saved. Their hope of being accepted by God or receiving His favor rests on their performance. What a false and pathetic hope! This is a lie I believed for far too long. My performance will never be good enough! I can't earn God's favor any more today than I could on the day He set me free from sin. And the good news is, I don't have to. Jesus' perfectly obedient life and substitutionary death bought that favor and acceptance for me completely. Nothing I do can add to what He accomplished--to suggest otherwise is a slap in His face as He hangs on the cross.

A favorite quote of mine bears repeating here:
“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live…It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.” --B.B. Warfield

4 comments:

newton dominey said...

true. very true. and sad that so many think that way.

Elizabeth said...

AMEN! Keep putting the truth out there.

Dan the Baptist said...

Great post! When I first started pastoring the church that I am at now on the sign out front it read "We use duct tape but Jesus used three nails" I have no idea what it even meant but the day they voted me in I went to the sign and took it down. As a matter of fact since then we have got a new sign and all we put on it is our service times

Kat Coble said...

I cannot count the number of times I've driven by a church sign and started ranting and raving about the inept humour and woefully poor theology.

Thank you for writing this post. It not only makes me feel like I'm not alone but it also allows me to prove to my husband that I'm not the only one who does that.