Recently, a fellow pastor observed of a major non-Christian movement which has many followers that it was impotent. Its followers, he rightly observed, are neither ready to sacrifice for it or die for it.
Does his comment apply also to church members today? One of America’s most prominent pastors has said that although we now have a higher percentage of church members than ever before, with 91 million adults claiming to be “born-again” Christians, never before has the church been less influential in American life. Obviously, the level of commitment by these people is very low.
Paul in Romans 12:1 summons us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God; he calls this our “reasonable service.” The term “body” in this verse stands, by synecdoche, “for the complete man” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1940). It means that we can hold nothing back.
I think of this verse often as pastors tell me of parishioners who are rebellious against God’s truth, and whose basic premise is too often, “My will be done.” The Lord requires a total commitment, even to death, and calls it our “reasonable service.” In other words, God’s chief end is not to glorify man and to enjoy him forever! Rather, as the old catechism stated it, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We can only enjoy God if He comes first in our lives and if we realize that whatever He requires of us is our “reasonable service.” We can only serve and enjoy God on His terms, not on ours.
When the Lord again has priority over and in us, and His law-word truly governs us, then we will have a very different church and country.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.