As I was preparing for this post, I was reminded of a comment left on the post Remember Who God is When the Church Lets You Down. I found it both insightful and encouraging, and I believe a wonderful way to introduce today’s post. I will add my emphasis to what I want to draw attention to today.
Well said! I had an eye opening experience related to this when we left our church (it was the first church we had ever been involved in as a family)~ I felt naked, alone, vulnerable, alone like I had no “covering” or protecting from evil – so many different emotions and fears raced through my head. The fact is, I looked at the “building” and the people in it as my protection/covering instead of GOD – sometimes I think I had to travel down that road to really have my eyes opened to who God really is and where He needs to be in my life. He is my everything – my lifeline!
For those who have been hurt by the church, you understand the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. Just as this commenter viewed the church as her protection and covering, we can easily fall into the trap of believing the church (the building) is our god and our covering.
We believe the church building is our god
Allowing the church building and the people in it to move into God’s rightful place is a misplacement of God. Yet the feeling of nakedness and vulnerability at being exposed is a tangible example of the truth of scripture.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. ~Hebrews 4:13
As we talked about last week, we must remember that God is the only true God. There is no other besides Him (Deuteronomy 4:39). In addition, He is a Holy God, a God without sin or blemish, a God who cannot be in the presence of sin.
As sinners, we cannot come into God’s presence on our own merit. We are naked and exposed before Him, nothing is hidden from His sight. Yet I think we often forget a very important truth – we will give account to this most holy God.
When we do remember, we run to church and think this is enough to save us or what will save us. The church building becomes our god, and often just like the commenter above we don’t even realize it has happened.
We believe the church building is our covering
In addition, believing the church building is our covering is a misplacement of Christ. The feeling of nakedness and vulnerability at being exposed is a tangible example of yet another truth of scripture.
For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~2 Corinthians 5:21
This part of scripture is known as The Great Exchange. God reconciled our sinfulness by making his sinless Son bear the penalty of our sins. Our God is a holy God and it is only through the sacrifice of Christ that we are made holy and … are covered. Christ clothes us in the white linens of His righteousness.
Just as in the Garden of Eden many years ago, God still longs to give us the clothes of covering, but this time in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our covering is not the church building or even the people in it. So when the church lets us down, we can turn our eyes to the one who will never let us down – Jesus Christ.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 1:6-7
When the church lets you down, your faith is tested. Where does your hope lie? Where is your righteousness found? Where is your security?
Clothe yourselves in Christ.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. ~1 Peter 2:24
Be healed, my friend, by the only balm of this world – Jesus Christ’ sacrifice for you. The church did not die for you. Christ did! Look to Him and may this testing result not in turning your back on Christianity, but instead result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of coming more and more into the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Has Christ been misplaced as your covering?
Part 3 – Remember God’s Heart for the Church