The question, “Does Christ have preeminence in your life?” (see http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n4/number-one) is an important question. In fact, it is more than important, for to not have Christ as preeminent in your life is sin. In quoting Scripture, Dan Hayden points out what is true. Christ is God, creator of the universe, progenitor of the universe, and firstborn from the dead. And for all of these reasons, we ought to have Christ as “number one” in our life.
The very first commandment which God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai speaks to this very truth: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3; Matthew 22:37-38). And as Jesus Himself says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).
Because Jesus is God, we ought to “fear, love, and trust in Him above all things” (Explanation to the First Commandment, Luther’s Small Catechism). The problem is, we do not.
Hayden questions and comments, “So, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I acknowledge Christ’s preeminence? Do I give Him first place in all I do and think? Is His character what people see when they look at me?” Preeminence doesn’t mean only once a week on Sunday. It means every day and all the time—in everything—that in all things He might have preeminence.
Hayden is certainly correct. However, no one can answer the question in the affirmative. Questions like this present the opportunity to speak the other word of the Lord Jesus, the Word which Hayden disappointedly omits—the word of the Gospel. Hayden’s question is the question of Law, to which all can only answer in the negative. “No, I don’t (always) acknowledge Christ’s preeminence! “No, I don’t give Him first place all that I do or think! And no, Christ’s character is not what people always see when they look at me!”
The Law of God convicts, rebukes, and chastises us in such a way that we cannot get out from under it, as Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The apostle Paul also writes that “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
But he continues then with the good news, the Gospel of salvation, “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-26).
Thanks be to God that God doesn’t leave us in our sin. We do not hold Christ as we ought. We do not believe in Him, fear Him, or love Him as we ought. But this word of Law is not God’s last Word to us sinners. God’s Word of forgiveness is.
No, we don’t keep God’s Word as we ought. Nor do we worship God as He gives us to worship Him.
God, in His mercy, gives us Christ, His Son, the very One whom we fail to acknowledge as we should. And because of His death, our sins of failing to acknowledge Christ (God) as we ought are not counted against us.
By Christ’s death, God forgives us of our sins. And God forgiving our sins means that our sins He no longer holds against us.
This truth, too, must be told. God does speak His Word of Law, that which condemns, like the questions asked by Hayden. But God also speaks His other Word, that of Gospel, sins forgiven for Christ’s sake, by which we begin to rightly acknowledge Christ according to the revelation of our Lord. God so grant us such faith to believe and do. Amen.
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