Where did we come down with the idea that going to church makes us Christians? Makes us "saved"? Makes us right before God? Where did that idea first take hold?
What I'm going to say today might shock you. Some of you may not pick up what I'm throwing down. But here it is, regardless, just like this: church won't save you. Going to church won't save you. Having your name on a church roll somewhere doesn't make you any more special to God. Go... don't go. Show up... or don't. Whatever. Church has no bearing on where you'll spend eternity.
I was reminded of this Saturday as I walked alongside a beautiful church in Jefferson, Texas. Boy, we spend a lot of money on our churches, don't we? Making them beautiful. Making them functional. Making them attractive or breathtaking or cool. And maybe we should. Maybe we should. But at the end of the day, a church is just a building. It's just a place.
Yep, we can spend a lot of effort thinking about church. Whether we go or don't go. We can spend a lot of time grumbling about church, too. A lot of emotion and judgment and controversy surrounds churches today. Do we go on Saturday or do we go on Sunday? Do we wear jeans or do we not wear jeans? Do we sing choruses or do we sing hymns? And how do we handle women? Different races? Homosexuals? Divorcees? We're passionate in our opinions and convictions about church and how it should be conducted, aren't we? And it's important. Absolutely, it's important. The church is the bride of Christ. The church has a specific and special part in God's kingdom. He's used her before and He will use her still. But is it everything? No way. It's just church. It can't save.
I go... to church, that is. Some weeks I can't wait to go and other weeks I can't wait to get back home. But I don't define my relationship with God... I don't hang my salvation... on my church attendance. On which church has my name on the roll. Church helps convict and teach and encourage me. It gives me an outlet to get plugged into something God is doing in my community. And while I'm thankful for the opportunities we have, as a democratic society, to worship in public, I don't expect a seat in heaven just because I've held a seat in church.
Here's the point: spend too much time thinking and worrying about church and whether/where/why you should/should not go and you'll miss the point completely. Church won't save you. Only Jesus will. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Believing and calling upon the only begotten Son of God - that makes you a Christian.
Church is good. Praise God for His church! But there's so much more to this Christian life than that. There's so, so, so much more to this than church.
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next Monday!