Theme: A Distinct Theology
In this week’s lessons, we consider the difference between the City of God and the city of man.
Scripture: Revelation 21:1-2
In addition to a clear grasp of our authority, a second way in which we have to be distinct is in our theology. Contrary to what the world’s theology says, we all know that people are not basically good, and therefore all one needs to do is work a little harder. The Word of God tells us that things are not that way at all. Things are terribly, even desperately, wrong. Speaking spiritually, men are dead in their trespasses and sins, and what we need is a miraculous work that only God can do. This is the kind of theology we’re going to have to have, and if we don’t have it, the time is going to come when you can’t tell the difference between the church and the secular world.
A distinction in our theology is crucial because where theology is distinct, men and women will be attracted to that which is distinct. Who is attracted to a great big amorphous mush? Nobody at all. But where somebody is distinct and they know what they believe, people will begin to follow. We’re going to have to talk about the depravity of man, that men and women of themselves cannot even understand spiritual things, let alone respond in faith to God, and that this kind of faith is love and commitment to God and is the result of his work in the hearts. We’re going to have to talk about God’s election of people, who left to themselves would go their own way like the swine rushing over the cliff to destruction. We have to understand that God in his grace reaches down and saves some and there’s nothing in themselves that commends them to God. We’re going to have to talk about the particular aspects of redemption of Christ, how as He died upon the cross, He died for his own and particularly for them in order that his work might be effective and they might be brought into glory.
We have to talk about that grace by which God draws men and women to himself irresistibly as we say. Not that we do not resist, but that God changes our thinking, planting his life within our hearts and so opens our minds to that which we couldn’t understand before and as a result of which we come to him in faith and repentance. We’re going to have to stress that this God who has done all of that does not step back once we come into the kingdom, but rather that this God perseveres with us because he knows that all we like sheep not only have gone astray, but will go astray and do go astray, and so preserves us in order that we might be led into his way. What’s wrong with evangelicalism in America today is that it hardly has a robust theology; the best it has is the basic gospel. While that might have been good in a time of Christian consensus, it’s not going to be good enough when our culture is going rapidly secular. We’re going to have to become stronger in this area of theology.
What is the second area of distinctness needed by Christians? Why is it important?
Why do you think some see this distinction as less important, or even a barrier to Christian living and witness?
Application: What areas of Christian theology are you less knowledgeable about than others? Purpose this year to study those subjects with which you are less familiar.