“No one is as near and dear to God as those who hate and deny him, and he has no more dear children than they!” Wow! What do you think of that?
Who would say such a thing, and why?
Those words are attributed to none other than the great Reformer of the Christian Church, Dr. Martin Luther. Historians tell us that Luther often used exaggeration for effect. Even so, this statement seems extreme, doesn’t it?
Reportedly, Luther made this shocking remark in a sermon he preached on the passage in the book of Revelation that tells of the judgment of God through the Apostle John upon the congregation of Christians in the ancient city of Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spew you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16)
Luther believed that the Spirit was saying to the Christians of the church in Laodicea, and by means of Scripture, is saying also to us today, “Take God seriously! Don’t be halfhearted about God!”
Luther believed that God respects honest doubt more than nominal, casual profession of Christian faith. He believed that the earnest atheist who cares enough to take the matter of God seriously, even though he has never reached faith, is more respected by God than is the lukewarm Christian whose manner of living reveals that God is actually only somewhere down the list of his priorities as shown by the ways he spends his time and his money and the ways he interacts with other people.
I find the need regularly to re-examine not the Christian priorities I profess but the priorities that my manner of life reveals that I actually value.
How are you doing with such things?
THE REV. G. DANIEL MCCALL IS THE MINISTER OF PASTORAL CARE AT FAIRVIEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN NORTH AUGUSTA.