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Not Merely Christian Values

08 October 2012 by Matt Gumm

At a church service I recently attended, three college students were being baptized. Two of them were long-time church attenders. One came from a family that was committed to church so much that they would find a church on Sundays while traveling or pull over and have a service themselves. (Candidly, I found that last part a bit convicting, since my usual focus on Sunday travel days is finding an alternative to Chick-fil-A.)

At the time, I was glad that my kids got to hear some young(er) people saying that attending church, doing good things, and being nice wasn't what made them a Christian. But upon further reflection, I find myself glad for the reminder to me.

It is tempting, particularly in an election year, to get a little off track, and start thinking in terms of values instead of the Gospel. But values are like works, in that they can't save anyone. It's easy to stop there, but we shouldn't. Just as Paul asked the Galatians whether they had started off with faith, but were going to finish strong with works, we can't lead off with faith and rely on values to hit clean-up.

Don't get me wrong--values have their place. But their place is as the necessary consequences of the Gospel. They cannot take the place of genuine faith in the genuine Gospel which we have received, stand in, and by which we are being saved (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

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