Today, we live in the age of insatiable consumerism, where the ability to create and make our own choices is considered to be a right. It’s not ‘s surprising then that this attitude has crept into the church. The result is a demand for a ‘Buffet Christianity‘ in which the believer can choose or reject what’s being offered as the notion strikes them.
This begs the question: “is this ‘build your own gospel’ really the smart thing to do? Are we somehow better off taking our Bibles and keeping what we like and tossing the rest? When it comes to matters of faith, do we really have the right to choose what we believe? And what would Jesus himself say about all of this?”
Well, Jesus actually did address this very subject. Let’s look at Matthew’s gospel, beginning in chapter four, where we find his account of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by none other than Satan himself.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Jesus is in the wilderness because the Spirit has led him to this encounter with Satan. After spending 40 days and forty nights in this place, Jesus is no doubt mentally exhausted, weak in body, and hungry. It is in this depleted physical state that Satan appears to Jesus, and right away he tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread. Satan knows Jesus is hungry. He’s been there all along, no doubt lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to catch the Lord in a moment of weakness in order to gain the advantage over him.
Jesus, however, sees through the temptation and responds to it by reminding the adversary that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“. Did Jesus say, some of the words of God? Did he say that man shall choose which words of God to live by? Did Jesus ever use the word ‘choice’ when responding to the devil? No, he didn’t!
Jesus firmly rebuked the enemy by telling him that man is to live by every word from God. If this is true, and if we are to believe the Bible is true, then man cannot reject any part of God’s word. It’s either all or nothing! The fact is, in all sixty-six books of the Bible. there are exactly ZERO verses that state or even remotely imply that it is acceptable to adhere to Buffet Christianity.
This then leaves us with a dilemma. What do we do with those parts of the Bible that we either don’t like or don’t agree with? The answer is simple: we must accept the entirety of God’s word, or we accept none of it. Either we believe Jesus Christ meant what he said about living by every word that comes from God, or we do not. It’s really that simple. We must accept the parts that are easy and the parts that are hard. The parts that are easy to go along with and the parts that make us very uncomfortable. The parts that we like and the parts that we just plain do not like. Or we forget it all.
Yes, we can have disagreements on the interpretation of a specific verse of scripture. There are reasons after all why there are so many different denominations today. That does not, however, give us the liberty to reject something just because we do not have a complete understanding of it. You see, we have to come to the place where we understand that God’s word is immutable. It has not nor will it ever change just because we have a hard time accepting parts of it. It falls upon us then to allow God’s word to work in our heart and life to the point that it changes US!
One of the biggest problems with Buffet Christianity is that it will never allow us to completely surrender our life to God. That’s because it’s impossible to fully surrender to God when we believe we are in control to the point of picking and choosing which parts of His word we live by. You see, Buffet Christianity isn’t concerned with a lifestyle that exemplifies personal holiness or godliness. Neither does it regard living a sanctified life as something we should strive for. Instead, Buffet Christianity promotes a lifestyle in which we identify as Christian, but live according to the standards of this present world we live in.
In this season of “teachers having itchy ears” and God’s word being reduced to fables in the minds of tens of millions, the words of Jesus Christ have never been more needed than they are today. The divinely inspired word of God is now, and has always been, a God glorifying, Christ affirming, divine revelation of Almighty God.
A divine revelation that we are to embrace every word of.
Have a blessed day,