Growing up at the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, one month out of the year was themed loyalty month. There were special services and emphases to inspire reflection on one’s loyalty to Christ and to the Kingdom. At each of these services, we sang an anthem called Loyalty to Christ. I did not like it; it had five verses and we sang them all. As an adult though, I hum that song and weep… Here are a couple of my favorite verses.
Aren’t these great lyrics? If you have time, look up the whole anthem. Now, right on schedule, in the same month my home church observes loyalty month, I start humming the song. And I am moved, and convicted, and challenged.. not from a legalistic perspective, but from an awareness of the Lord’s great mercy.
Do we consider our service in the Kingdom an honor? As what we get to do? Do we temper the sense of duty with great awe of the finished work of Jesus?
In some faith communities, there is the teaching of salvation and faith almost like a balance sheet. “I owe God” is what is heard in varied iterations. But is this a good way to see it?
John 10:10 — The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)
John 14:6 — Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)
John 14:26-27 — If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (ESV)
Galatians 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (ESV)
Romans 8:35-39 — Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
Consider these verses/passages. The three references from the Gospel According to John point us to a wondrous exchange: abundant life (10:10), relationship (14:6), and fidelity over all others (14:26-27). The references from Galatians and Romans, while the experience and conviction of Apostle Paul, grant us insight into what it means to be born again and committed to Jesus. God expects us to pay nothing back for our salvation; He wants us — to live in us, to live through us, by a living faith in Jesus while understanding His sacrifice was for love (Gal. 2:20). Nothing rips us away from the love of Jesus. No thing. Bad things happen to us and bad things happen in the world — God’s love is there. Things we know and things we will question for the rest of our lives, the human experience, and the divine movement and interaction — still, God’s love is there (Rom. 8:35-39).
Are we loyal to Christ?
This question is loaded. I think the immature zealot quickly shouts yes to it. The mature, however, may take a beat or two to consider. In my heart where I doubt, in my mind where I see how I can do it my own way, or in my life where I may believe what I cannot live…. how much of it reflects a loyalty to Jesus Christ? Loyalty is not love, I think that is important to say. Loyalty comes from love.
So then, our loyalty to Christ leads us to ask whether we accept His love. Wow. We are loyal to the degree that we accept His unconditional, bigger than we can comprehend, unshakable and perfect love for us. Thankfully, we get a lifetime to work it all out. My prayer is that we settle the issue of how lovable we are and fall into the arms and offer of the One who loves us completely. Can we agree to try? Amen.
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the founder of The Bereans’ Commentary.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
Rooted Grounded Fixed and Founded in the Love of God