I know the title is a contradiction in terms. But it describes the deception that many people are deeply invested in.
To explain this, I must conclude the parable I began in the last post. The story is one of a very wealthy man who suddenly learns that his family’s vast estate was owing to a massive robbery that one of his distant relatives had perpetrated. Click here to read the first part.
The main point I am trying to make is that there are potentially many things that cloud our objectivity. Or stated another way, the more that you are personally invested in error, the harder it is to see it, much less admit it.
Sin by very nature is a blinding deception. It is rooted in rebellion and robbery against the rightful ruler and owner of not only all of the world’s resources but our very lives.
It’s easy enough to understand why an atheist would want to deny the existence of God (for the reasons already stated.) It will be more troubling to the professing Christian to understand that personally acknowledging the deception, but refusing to fully return what is rightfully God’s, is not actually a more honest position. In reality, it is an even more blameworthy one!
Evangelism in our day has morphed into an, “Everybody needs God so that they can accomplish their dreams. God loves you and sees your dreams and wants to help you overcome all the obstacles in your life. Jesus died so that your mistakes can be forgotten and you can live a guilt-free existence as you maximize your present potential.”
Much of this is true…but only after a person has truly returned and surrendered themselves to God! But this return and surrender to the ownership of God is almost totally missing from the modern “gospel”. Don’t believe it? Just turn on the most popular Christian television celebrities, and you’ll find this is the under girding philosophy. This is really what tons of people think the gospel is today.
Professing Christians who have never considered that their life is NOT their own; that their sexuality is NOT their own; that their money is NOT their own, etc. are not Christians in the biblical sense.
Christianity is about those who have robbed from God’s glory and lived independently of Him, returning to Him in full and humble surrender and trust. We surrender not only all that we have and are, but also our rights to have opinions about everything. We surrender our bodies and souls to God’s glorious purposes and plans. We see in Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection the perfect revelation of the unseen God…and it reveals the merciful heart of God AND exposes things very crooked and selfish in us. We are thus convicted of our sinfulness and selfishness, and because of His great love motivated to follow and worship Him for the rest of our lives.
This is true Christianity. It is about a massive heart and life change that can only happen when we begin to see how invested we have personally been in our own self-deception. It is a rude (but glorious) awakening.
Yes, this means giving back to God what was stolen: our hearts, minds, wills, and lives.
And then we find what life was always meant to be: an amazing relationship built upon real honesty, love, and devotion to a God who has always loved us and grieved over our destructive desires to live life our own way. This is a God who rather than just letting us totally self-destroy, sent His Son into the world to take away our sins at the Cross and deliver us of the deception that has blinded us to the truth.
Apart from this real and honest return and surrender to the Father, we are little more than Christian atheists.