One Saturday night a few weeks back, I stumbled upon a website about celebrity atheists and, much to the dismay of The Pastor, I read approximately 792 quotes from famous non-believers aloud to him while he ironed his preachin’ shirt for church the following day.
Now at this point, you should be thinking about the spiritual tragedy of atheism.
But instead you are thinking The Pastor irons his own shirts? While you sit surfing the Internet?! Dear Kelly, how can this be?!!
So here’s where I stop and tell you how to get your husband to do the ironing:
Stink at ironing.
It was 19.25 years ago. I ironed two or three shirts really poorly right there at the beginning. Done and done, you’re welcome.
But back to the famous atheists. In the lines between all of their hopelessness regarding God and sneers against Christians, I found a common, wistful thread in many of the interviews: I wish I could have faith.
In the second verse of Colossians, Paul names his letter’s audience.
To the saints and faithful brothers…
In this little phrase are two remarkable truths wrapped in two remarkable words, hagioi and adelphos. Saints and brothers.
Hagioi is the plural form of hagios, meaning “most holy thing.”
Adelphos literally means “out of the same womb, brothers.”
The first remarkable truth is that these words can be applied to anyone at all. We, the people of the Church, who call on the name of Christ to cover us, are most holy things (a word that is applied to God Himself in Revelation). We who were orphans are now are now brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. And this gift has come to us by not one single thing we have done, but because we were chosen to receive it.
The second remarkable thing is that these words are applied here and throughout the New Testament to the Gentiles, non-Jews, those outside of God’s original chosen, covenant people.
To you and to me.
Oh, that we in the West would know this and be humbled — that rescue by the Messiah is not our American birthright. God has allowed us to sneak in like Jacob to steal it from Esau, covering us with the scent of His righteousness and touch of His blood to lay hold of a promise that was never ours.
You and I have not “accepted Christ,” a tame phrase that sounds as if we have hand-selected the most appealing option from the shelf of hope and faith. The Lord of Hosts has broken the bounds of time and space and covenant and sin to come radically, completely, shockingly, lovingly claim us for His own.
If Christ has called you, no matter your past or your shame or your brokenness, you are part of the family, a son or a daughter at the banquet of the Lord, a most holy thing through the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. And this beautiful adoption has come at the great expense of His Son and, for a time, of God’s own firstborn people.
Even those atheists I read about somehow know that our faith is a feast they have not been allowed to go beyond the boundaries of themselves to taste.
Glory and honor and praise to the One who has not kept us out of the household of saints and brothers. Pull up to His table today in humility, and taste and see that He is good.