This is an extremely powerful reflection on Christians and our desire to place value on outward standards, and measurable actions. It’s easy to see the outward sins. Those can be judged and those people can be avoided (sadly), but it’s the matter of “the heart” that is terrifying to the church. The heart is far more difficult to get a read on, and make difinitive statements about. We can’t accurately judge a person’s heart, and so instead we use a man-made moral measuring stick (A.K.A “Legalism”), and hold others to it. We do this instead of encouraging the pursuit of Christ and his powerful, and trans formative resurrection. We are then shocked when people either don’t change (and end up hating Christianity), or revert back to the way they were before. We went about transformation the wrong way.
While My Utmost For His Hightest (where I got this quote) was written in 1935, I think you’ll find the truth in these words have just as much relevance today as it did 75 years ago.
The holiness movement (feel free to substitute “church” here*) of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. it did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the lamb.” (Revelation 12:11) It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “that is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.
The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate, devotion to the person of Jesus Christ. Every other so-called Christian experience is detatched from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration- no being born again into the Kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. Today he is portrayed as the figurehead of a religion- a mere example. His is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; he is the gospel of God. -Oswald Chambers
*My thoughts which are not reflected in the original text.