February 25, 2016

Christian Exile: You Are Entitled to Nothing


They say a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.  And a broken  US President (albeit a fictional one) gets it right twice in ten seconds, even if for unworthy motives.

Go on, watch it, I dare you. Listen to Frank Underwood’s sombre words:

“Let me be clear. You are entitled to nothing.  You are entitled to nothing.”

Christian exile, let me be clear.  You are entitled to nothing.  You are entitled to nothing.

In Christ you will be given everything, Romans 8:32 tells us so.  But what are you entitled to?  Nothing.

Jesus himself says so to his disciples:

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

What are unworthy servants who have only done their duty entitled to? Nothing.

What can we bring to the cross of the one who, though entitled to everything, gave it all up for our sakes?  Nothing.

A sense of entitlement has a sound.  It is not the sound of warfare, but of whinefare.  An over-preening sense that we are entitled to, if not everything, then at least a good deal of it.

And when such a sense of entitlement is threatened we throw a hissy fit.

And it worries me.  Why?  Because we are entitled to nothing.

I am not saying we cannot stand up publicly for biblical truth in our culture.  The church is a witness to the gospel and a fractured enactment of God’s future kingdom, here and now. But the culture is not the kingdom – yet.  Hebrews 12:28 tells us we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken“. But we’re receiving it, not entitled to it. Why? Because we are entitled to nothing.

Our sense of entitlement derives from three decades of prosperity gospel, or an iteration of it that, like a parasite, latched onto the entitlement culture and suckled at its malevolent teat.

This false gospel tells us that it is God’s role, nay his very duty, to ensure that all of the creases in our lives are ironed out.

That our teeth are white.  That our car is shiny. That our second car is just as shiny.  That our kids are happy. That our retirement is healthy.

Such a gospel is, ironically, an impoverished gospel,  no gospel at all.

Then, bloated on this ricin-laced sweetener, we watch as the culture slides away from a Christianised morality framework.

The predictable response is an outraged sense of entitlement; a low grade social-media whine occasionally flaring to hot anger.

Yet we are entitled to nothing.  We are entitled to nothing.

Oh, I forgot.  We are entitled to something: a godless eternity, cut off from all that is good and the good God whose very presence makes it good.

We are entitled to an eternity of nothing, but here’s the good news: the God who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us, will also give us all things.  Because we are entitled to them? No. We are entitled to nothing.

Grace and entitlement cannot co-exist.  They are mutually exclusive.  Where one exists the other must give ground.

Why are “all things” not enough for us?  Why the sense of outrage when the godless culture of entitlement threatens our entitlements? Because we don’t want to wait. We want all things now, we are entitled to them now.

Yet the gospel tells us we are entitled to nothing, past, present and future.

Christian exiles, it’s going to be a tough couple of decades in the West, as the culture turns increasingly hostile towards God’s people. If we are going to thrive joyously in the Babylon of our day, indeed if we are going to be compelling witnesses to a desire nothing else can touch, then the first thing to go must be our strong sense of entitlement.  Its a strong sense indeed, but a misplaced one.

I sense that we are so afraid of losing what we believe we are owed, we are blind to the distinct possibility that this is God’s judgement for a culture that has rejected Him, and His refining process for a church that has neglected Him.

And the first step in our refining process may well be acknowledging this:

We are entitled to nothing. We are entitled to nothing.



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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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