Dr. Duplicity

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Dear Lord,

First of all, sir, if this is a rhetorical question, then we suppose an answer is pretty much moot. If it is a rhetorical question, then you must be attempting to point out the incompatibility of someone referring to you as “Lord” while practicing a studied disregard of your authority and desires.

However, sir, your definition of “Lord” and ours may be quite different. If you mean by “Lord” the right to rule absolutely over your subjects or, perhaps, even the right to actually exercise that authority, then we, for our part, do indeed have a different understanding. When we refer to you as “Lord,” we mean that you are the Savior, the one who, by his own sacrifice, bought our freedom.

It is this idea of freedom that most interests us. The Apostle Paul tells us that “it is for freedom” that you “set us free” in the first place. Either we are free or we are not. If, sir, you are insisting that we must do as you say, then we counter that we are not truly free. Please understand, we are not questioning your fitness to rule over us. For most of us your goodness is a settled matter. But this is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not we are truly free to determine our actions.

We all agree that doing what you say is a very good idea, a very wise thing. We realize that there are very real benefits to obedience and that there can be certain unpleasantries for disobedience. But if you make obedience a requisite for salvation, then we respectfully ask why your sacrifice was necessary. And if you require obedience as a necessary response to our freedom in you, then we wonder if we have simply exchanged one slavery for another, albeit a kinder, gentler servitude. There have always been good and bad masters. But as we understand it, genuine freedom is without masters altogether.

We continue to be deeply grateful for the grace you have generously poured upon us and will continue to offer up worship to you as the one true God. However, apparently we take the idea freedom far more seriously than you do. Though we recognize that we as yet see “through a glass darkly,” we prefer to err on the side of freedom.

Thank you.

Your Co-Heirs


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