Numerous Christians are lukewarm, but not for the factors they believe. “I do not go to church adequate, I do not pray adequate, I do not witness adequate.” Let me cease you correct there. How significantly is adequate? How lots of individuals do you require to lead to Jesus to cease him from vomiting you out of his mouth? The answer is zero, simply because Jesus will never ever vomit you out.
You are not lukewarm simply because of your productivity. But you may perhaps be lukewarm if you are mixing the white-hot really like of God with the stone-cold demands of the law. (If this is news to you, take the Lukewarm Test now.)
How do we develop into lukewarm?
The Laodiceans had been famously lukewarm, but any individual can be lukewarm. All you require is a tiny law. In the Bible we discover a wonderful law that no a single can hold. It is a law to crush egos and silence boasting mouths. But the self-righteous take that wonderful law and reduce it down to manageable size. They belittle and cheapen God’s law, generating themselves lukewarm.
An oft-heard cry is that the contemporary church is becoming undone by low cost grace. The term low cost grace was coined by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in in his 1963 book The Expense of Discipleship. Affordable grace, according to Bonhoeffer, leaves sinners unchanged and provides rise to moral laxity. The remedy is to preach pricey grace, which means grace with situations. In other words, the remedy for apathy is to mix law with grace.
This is toxic teaching. There is no such issue as low cost grace. The actual harm is carried out by preaching low cost law. In his 2013 book, 1 Way Enjoy, Tullian Tchividjian wrote about the dangers of low cost law:
Contrary to what some Christians would have you think, the most significant issue facing the church nowadays is not ‘cheap grace’ but ‘cheap law’—the concept that God accepts something significantly less than the best righteousness of Jesus…A higher view of the law produces a higher view of grace. A low view of the law produces a low view of grace.
The basic issue with low cost law is “it nullifies grace,” stated John Dink in a 2012 essay. “Cheap law weakens God’s demand for perfection, and in undertaking so, breathes life into the old creature and his quest for a righteousness of his personal generating.”
If you want to make individuals lukewarm, the quickest way is to preach low cost law. Affordable law may perhaps be packaged as the pursuit of holiness or the spiritual disciplines. It could be an emphasis on the sacrifices you bring or the promises you make. Affordable law may perhaps take lots of types, but it invariably bears the nauseating stench of self-righteousness.
Why had been the Laodiceans lukewarm?
Anybody can be self-righteous and lukewarm, but the Laodiceans had been lukewarm simply because they had been Jewish. They had left the synagogue, but they hadn’t entered the kingdom. They had heard the superior news of grace, but they hadn’t let go of the law.
The Laodicean church was Jewish in the similar way the Jerusalem church was Jewish. But as opposed to the Jerusalem Jews, the Laodicean Jews had been nevertheless bound to the law. Lacking a complete revelation of what Christ had carried out, they had been stuck in between two covenants. This is why Jesus says they had been neither cold (completely below law) nor hot (completely below grace). They had been living below law and grace, which is like possessing a cold bath and hot a single at the similar time.
The Laodiceans had been not the only ones. To this day, lots of stay confused about the covenants. Their confusion manifests in comments like, “We require to balance God’s grace with functions,” and “God provides us grace to hold his commands.” In the pursuit of balance, mixed-up preachers give mixed-up messages and the outcome is mixed-up believers.
The remedy to this sort of lukewarmness is not to preach low cost law, but to preach pure and undiluted grace.
Adapted from Paul Ellis’s forthcoming book, Letters from Jesus: Getting Great News in Christ’s Letters to the Churches.