That song continues:
… why aren’t his arm reaching? Why aren’t his hands healing?
I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a rhetorical question, but in case it’s not I’d like to try to answer it.
Because we’re not the body.
The Body of Christ
Our Gospel at Rose Creek Village gets expressed a number of ways, but my personal way is to reduce it to two things:
- Give up everything and follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly
- Do it with everyone else who does the same
The body of Christ is the local, united gathering of disciples following Christ together as one family.
That wonderful, beneficial song by Casting Crowns assumes that the body of Christ is all the Christians making a profession of faith in the death of Christ. Chances are the closest thing they have to a local expression of the body is weekly meetings where people who are mostly strangers gather to sing songs, give money, and listen to a sermon about Christ.
That’s not the body of Christ according to Scripture and that’s why its arms aren’t reaching and its hands aren’t healing.
One of the things that used to bother me immensely when I was in a typical, traditional church was that Paul could be confident that “he who began a good work in you will continue it,” but we could not share the same confidence.
Instead, we could be confident that 80% or more who made a profession of faith would not even be attending church 5 years later and that the great majority of those who do attend church would be cold, living like typical Americans, and not growing in Christ.
Many Christians disagree with that assessment, especially when someone like me–someone asking for change–says it. However, if I’m wrong, why do so many Christians believe that we’re in the “Laodicean church age”?
Why can groups like Casting Crowns sing “why aren’t … ” and become popular singing it?
It’s because everyone knows it’s true.
The Gospel that we’re preaching is either the power of God to salvation or it’s not.
When the result of the gospel is that we’re in the Laodicean church age and Christ’s arms aren’t reaching and his hands aren’t healing, then the gospel is false.
And we need to change to the real Gospel; the one that is the power of God to salvation.
Finishing the Tower
Jesus once said to count the cost. The reason he gave for counting the cost came in the form of an illustration. The illustration was of a man who set out to build a tower but had to quit before he was finished because he ran out of money.
Today we like to say the Gospel has no cost.
That isn’t true.
Because we don’t count the cost, more than 80% of the people who listen to the American gospel don’t finish the course. And we know that only those who continue to the end will be saved. The Scriptures say that repeatedly.
And even among those who do finish their course in “the body” as it’s understood in America are not living anything like the early disciples.
I’d like to suggest that the problem is our gospel.
What does Jesus say in the context of “count the cost”? That statement is made towards the end of Luke 14.
The answer is that he says we have to hate our families and our own life, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and forsake everything we own.
I’ve suggested on numerous internet forums that we do that. The responses I get are almost 100% scoffs and mockery.
Well, no wonder his arms aren’t reaching and his hands aren’t healing!
Faith vs. Works
If we preach a Gospel that proclaims that we must deny ourselves and forsake our families and possessions, then aren’t we preaching works rather than faith?
What, do you think Jesus Christ was a preacher of works?
I shouldn’t have to explain myself because I’m just quoting Jesus. If you say you’re a Christian, then you must believe that he is your Master. After all, to quote him, why would you call him “Lord” and not do the things he says?
If he’s your Master, then you figure it out. You figure out how you can hear the Gospel of faith and also be required to deny yourself, take up your cross, and forsake everything. It’s supposedÂ to matter to you!
My explanation is here.