The New Testament tells us over and over again that because Christ has come to us, we no longer have to prove our genealogy. We no longer have to trace our way back to Him. We no longer have to demonstrate that we are worthy of Him, for He came when we were not worthy and made us His anyway. Hebrews says it. Paul says it. Paul says it more than once. Yet, here we are, a people who continue to try to show our own worthiness, our own qualifications. We are a people still trying to prove our lineage.
Not only that, though, but we are a people trying to get others to prove theirs.
This is how we sell our Christianity to an unbelieving world - we tell them that there is a way for them, too, to make their path toward God. We invite them to our churches and give them a T-shirt just for visiting. We sell them the same bumper stickers that we have on our own cars. We get them to invest in the same appearances that we invest in.
We spend an awful lot of our time trying to get the unbelieving world to look like us...we who are "worthy" or whatever it is that we're telling ourselves.
We spend shamefully little of our time trying to help the unbelieving world to look like Jesus.
Isn't that where our faith started? Isn't that the very foundation of who we are? We are supposed to be a people who look like Jesus, who help others to come to look like Jesus. We are supposed to be disciples of Christ making disciples of Christ. We are supposed to be a people who declare to one another, "Come and see! He is most amazing!"
Instead, we are a people who look like a people, who want others to come and look like us. We are disciples of churches and fellowship groups who are trying to make disciples of churches and fellowship groups. To put it more bluntly, we are members of churches and fellowship groups who are trying to make more members of our churches and fellowship groups. We are a people who declare to one another, "Come and look what we're doing! We're so amazing!" And then ushering them into our church services and community programs.
And maybe, just maybe, sometimes we mention our Jesus. More and more, though, we don't. We have come to believe that even our Christianity doesn't require an explicit witness, that we don't have to ever talk about Jesus in order to help others to love Him.
We've come to believe that our bumper sticker-and-t-shirt Christianity is exactly what this world needs, and we've become far too happy to oblige.
Then we wonder why the world doesn't think very much of Jesus, how it can think so little of Christ. The answer is simple: we have taught them to do so.
We have taught them that it's all a show, that it's all a façade. We have taught them that it's about appearances, that it's about marking your life with a path to God so that you can show your own qualifications to be here. We have taught them that the most important thing about being a Christian is being able to prove and to show that you're a Christian through a series of some kind of tangled web of various witnesses, very few - if any - of which have to do with actually living like - or loving like - Christ.
We are a people not only doing the very thing that Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers told us we don't have to do any more, but we are a people declaring unashamedly that we must do it. Indeed, that it's all we have to do. Show ourselves as come to Christ, and we shall prove that we are Christians.
Never mind that He has come to us to prove that we are His....