Impossibly Simple Kendall Lankford
May 31, 2017
The Biblical message is not a very difficult one to understand. In fact, it can be summarized by a very simple word: submission. The problem is not in our mental comprehension; it’s in our sinful apprehension to truly live that way. By all regards, it is an impossibly simple message.
In the Old Testament, people were commanded to submit their entire lives under the authority of the law of God. Since humanity perpetually chose to rebel against a holy God, He left heaven, came down, and dwelt among His people. He lived out a life of perfect submission right here in front of us! Why did He do this?
He came and perfectly obeyed the law of God - not to let human beings off the hook or to start a movement of lukewarm, half-hearted, compartmentalized church-attenders who affirm Him with their lips but live lives that demonstrate how far they are from Him. He did it to forcibly unshackle rebels who were slaves to their habitual pattern of self-imposed slavery to free them into a better kind of service! The Biblical message is not a message of utter freedom. It is freedom as a servant of Christ. Jesus did not die to make us the new authority. He came to impose God’s rule, reign, and authority onto us. To live a life of “un-submittedness” is to vastly overestimate ourselves while vastly underestimating the benefits of being a servant of Christ. We are truly free when we submit to Christ.
The problem is not that this message is too difficult for us to understand; the problem is that we just don't like the message. We do not like to submit and lose control over our life. We want to be set free from every negative burden that sin causes so that we can more fully focus on ourselves. Our words demonstrate we agree with Jesus, but our lives tell that we think we know better.
When Jesus summarizes ALL of Scripture for us (in Mt. 22:37-40), He is not inviting us into our best life now. He is teaching us that ALL of human life is submission - that every thought, word, relationship, behavior, and even all of our pleasures are all to be totally and utterly submitted under His authority. That is not a divine suggestion for the very best Christians. That is minimum standard for admittance. To be a Christian = whole life submission.
Whether we like it or not, that is the message.
How can we get there? By believing that Jesus lived the life we cannot live, died the death we should have died, to bring us into a new and better life wholly and utterly centered on Him. By repenting for our constant inability to follow Him and for our ongoing tendencies toward rebellion and self-salvation. And by developing a new, sanctified habit of continually submitting and resubmitting our lives back under His authority and Lordship.