Francis Chan is challenging the church to not be lukewarm, which is great. He just goes a bit too far.
In the interview portion of the book, he says “salvation has nothing to do with performance. If we are truly saved , out actions are going to show it.”
But based on the standard of not being lukewarm (see first post), how do we know we really saved? When do we have assurance? Is salvation a fragile thing that one lukewarm action or motivation could derail?
The actual verse that speaks about being lukewarm comes from Revelation. Jesus is speaking to one of the seven churches the book was written to, the Laodicean church.
Revelation 3:14-16 says:
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
This passage was not written to the church in the 21st century. We must consider what was meant to the first century church located in Laodicea. The actual city was known for having natural hot springs for bathing and natural cold springs for drinking water. They piped the water into the city, mixing them. They took things that were wonderful and special, and made the ordinary. When expecting a nice, long drink of pure, cold water only to find it lukewarm; you spit it out. Jesus is challenging them to keep their uniqueness, not settling for ordinary.
If he is talking about salvation, then he actually says he wants some to be “cold” or “unsaved”. Does that bother anyone? Do we see this type of statement anywhere else in Scripture?
This passage is in the context of a beautiful picture, with Jesus described in amazing fashion in Revelation 1:12-20. He is pictured as standing “in the midst of the seven golden lampstands” (vs 13). Verse 20 tells us that these lampstands are the seven churches.
Jesus is in the midst of His people. For every church mentioned in Revelation, including all their strengths and weakness; He is with them. God lives in the midst of a messed up church.
As “lukewarm” or ordinary the church of Laodicea may have been, they could be confident that the radiant son of God, is in their midst.
What an amazing picture.
The greatest motivation to not be “lukewarm” is to realize who God is and what He has done for us. When we see Jesus dwelling in our midst, we will want to be more like him.
In summary for these two posts, I want to clarify what I am NOT saying:
– We should be lukewarm Christians. Paul’s response to this idea in Romans 6:1 is “God Forbid!”
– We can do whatever we want and have no consequences.
What I AM saying:
– When you put a work into a formula for salvation, it becomes about us.
– When works need to be measured, we must ask, “Have I done enough to meet God’s standard of perfection?”
– It is impossible to avoid lukewarmness enough to meet that standard.
– We cannot remove the scandal of grace. If grace does not seem like it can be abused, we are not seeing it in its true form.And most importantly:
– I admire and respect the commitment and ministry of Francis Chan. Please purchase Crazy Love and be challenged in your commitment. Do it as a response to the love God first showed you.
One of his conclusions in the book is “that our motivation should not be fear but love.”
Love motivates us to avoid “lukewarmness”, not fear.
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.”