On the way to the office yesterday I passed by a church marquee that so disturbed me, I did a U-turn to make sure I read it correctly. Unfortunately, it read just as I thought it had. The message sparked a visceral reaction to it that flooded my soul. In my mind I yelled “NO!” at the top of my lungs. This sign was promoting an egregious theological heresy. This heresy is the probably one of the most difficult false teachings to overcome in the Bible-belt. It was terribly hard for me to break free from it. Frankly, I still struggle to deny this damnable teaching. So does my church. This is why I was astounded to see it promoted on a church sign. So what was the message that agitated me so much? Here you go:
“The measure of who we are is what we do”
It’s entirely possible that statement doesn’t agitate everyone. Let me tell you why seeing it on a church marquee should:
Because the measure of who we are is what was done for us. So many of us are living life like hamsters, running our guts out on the never ending treadmill of human performance. We live as if what we do is the measure of who we are. We think that if we can score high enough, earn enough, buy enough, please enough, accomplish enough, acquire enough and love enough we will measure up. We exhaust ourselves to this end, and for what? Usually a sinking feeling that somehow, it still isn’t enough.
This is why the Gospel is so beautiful and so helpful. The Gospel tells you that the measure of who you are is what was done for you.
You were created in the image of God. Your true identity is that you were born with dignity and worth, not that you have to earn them. You were crafted by a sovereign, wise and loving Creator who makes no mistakes.
You are made right with God by the righteous work of Christ, not by the works of your own righteousness. How good is good enough? When we’re talking about a Holy God – perfection. The perfect Son of God. “we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 2:16
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
You are loved without respect to your merit. All that we have to bring to God is our sin. Our failure. Our inadequacy. His response? “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Love. Unmerited. Undeserved. But full and free.
The measure of who we are is what Christ has done for us!
Promotions may come by way of merit. Accolades too. That’s OK. But let the fuel motivating our love, work and faith be rooted in who we are, not who we are trying to prove ourselves to be.
Corporate America might not believe that, but the church should.