you suck at everything

Your Theology Sucks

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (Jhn 5:39-40 NASB)

The Urgency of Theology

On social media feeds and comment sections and such, I have seen many urgent and desperate posts and even flame wars over matters of theology. Usually someone seems to think their position is obvious and incontrovertibly true, and that any notion to the contrary is not only wrong but heretical. I have also been a deep and longstanding party to that mindset. God forgive me.

However, much more sadly, I see honest and desperate people who realize their theology is very incomplete, who nonetheless have the idea firmly implanted that if they don’t get it right or if others don’t get it right, their very salvation is in jeopardy. They feel that perhaps they really are not understanding much of the the dialog that happens around these issues and they feel very frightened and confused with all the hyperbolic talk about how important it all is and the dire consequences of getting it wrong.

Salvation through faith in what

If you read through the gospel of John, you will notice that faith is always espoused in very broad terms as belief in Christ Himself. I have always thought, belief in what exactly about Him? But John does not exactly qualify it. I think maybe that John the Apostle is very careful on this point, to keep this very broad and ambiguous. He tends to write in this manner, where simple statements have multiple meanings, as when Andrew asked “Rabbi, where are you staying” and Jesus answered, “Come, and you will see.” (John 1:38-39)

Look at these passages, where the object of faith is not in something about Jesus, but is directed toward the personJesus:

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (Jhn 3:16 NASB)

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (Jhn 6:29 NASB)

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (Jhn 6:29 NASB)

30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (Jhn 20:30-31 NASB)

What is the point of this?

So, what is the point I’m trying to make here? You can relax, because your imperfect theology is not going to condemn you. Theology is not your savior. Jesus is your savior. Jesus’ theology is spot on, and if theology were your savior, this is good news. We are not our own savior in figuring out all of this. We can rest in this: Jesus Christ Himself saves us. My bad theology is the least of my worries. I am a sinner. If Jesus Christ Himself came to me I would deny Him, crucify Him, reject Him, and flee into a hidden room somewhere. He is the One who is the good news here, He is the savior, He is the One who forgives and justifies and has raised from the dead to love me despite my sin and my flawed theology.

The point of theology is not to save us. That is Jesus’ job, and according to Him, “It is finished! (John 19:30)” The point of theology is to comfort and encourage us, to unfold the beauty of our salvation. It tells us that we are not simply forgiven, but justified. It isn’t just merciful that we are accepted and beloved by God, it is right in the eyes of justice, because of what Jesus had done for us. It tells us that God has entered into and experienced our finiteness and suffering, and does not simply dictate right and wrong from on high. It tells us that He loves us and that we have a great hope, that death is never the end of the story. But more importantly, it tells us that our grasp of these things is not what secures them for us. Jesus our savior secures them for us, whether we understand them or not.

You’re so Inconsistent!

It is not lost on me that I am making a theological statement in saying that our theology is not what saves us. Sin boldly! Even here, I am not justified by being perfectly consistent. I am not consistent and I would be a fool to claim to be. I am leaving the consistency up to my savior Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh. Consistency is a harsh and impossible master, a difficult idol to serve. I am not loved because I am consistent. I am loved because God has ordained it from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). I’m not God and I don’t know why He loves me so, but I believe it. There is a lot of peace and a lot of rest in knowing that the simple Bb vanilla message of the gospel of salvation is really true. Jesus loves me, and He died for me, and it worked. He made it work, my grasp of it intellectually is not what makes it work. It doesn’t matter how perfect my understanding of all this is. It matters how perfect His understanding of it is – and His understanding is infinitely and eternally perfect from beginning to end. How wonderful is that?

We can have confidence and assurance that simple faith in Christ Jesus saves us from the just judgments that we have earned. We are beloved and accepted by God, and it is God who has established this. Rest in this my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

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