The older I get, the more I love simplicity. Simple routine, simple diet, simple lifestyle … and it all comes with a period. Nothing has to follow once you finish your thought and put down a period. Theology is that way too. The Reformation used the period very effectively:
· Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone")
· Sola fide ("by faith alone")
· Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
· Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone")
· Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone")
I have always condensed these to mean “Christ” period. Nothing follows the period. It is not Christ plus something else … it is just Christ. It is not Christ and the law, Christ and doctrine, Christ and prophecy … it is Christ, period.
Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah. (Christ)
I do believe that all Scripture points to Christ. He is the substance of our faith, the Word of God, the fellowship among believers, and the Head of the Church. Again, we read in Scripture that Christ is everything … period.
Colossians 1 16For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.
So, when people make emphasis from the Bible and make it about something other than Christ, be careful, because they are not stopping at the period. Now, it will become Christ and the prayer of Jabez, or Christ and prosperity, or Christ and church growth, or Christ and doctrine, or Christ and social justice, or Christ and (put your own emphasis in here). The truth of the period is … there is nothing before Christ and nothing that follows Him. People say to me all the time, “Well, I want to go deeper with God,” and I say “That is a great desire … what do you mean?” Of course, everyone has a different idea of what that looks like, but there is no deeper understanding of God other than Christ … period. You certainly can go deeper into who He is and do as Peter says, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Someone once made an observation about Gentiles wanting to be more Jewish by keeping the law and practices of the Old Testament. In so doing, they are thinking they are getting closer to God by getting closer to being Jewish. “How silly,” this person said, “We are as Jewish as we need to be in Jesus, period.” How true that is.
The period is important because it defines the emphasis of the Scriptures, and it should define our beliefs as well. The Apostle Paul gave Timothy some instructions about getting off track with things that don’t promote Christ in everything:
1 Timothy 1 3As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
Even in the early stages of the Christian Church, we see people wanting to redirect the emphasis of the Cross to something that adds to it. It almost falls in the category of the teaching of Jesus who said that we can’t serve two masters; either we will love the one and hate the other. If there isn’t a period after Christ, you can fall in love with whatever you add to His name. We have people who are prouder of their Lutheran heritage or their full Gospel practice, or their Evangelicalism than they are about being followers of Christ … period. I’m not saying that we don’t have distinctions, but when distinctions take us down a path that leads us into more of the argument and defense of the distinction and less on learning about Christ, I think we cross a line. Whatever happened to the spirit of this verse?
Ephesians 4 3Diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope[a] at your calling—5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
My point today is about the period. It is Christ. Period. Don't make the emphasis of your Christianity anything other than Christ. Know Him, as the Apostle Paul suggests:
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death.
Challenging words, but that was the tone of the early church … and they turned their world upside down.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler