While shopping with my wife and son this weekend in Holland, Michigan, we came across a really nice boutique. When my wife saw it, she basically went into a trance and before I knew it my son and I were waiting patiently by the waiting rooms in the “men’s section”. I say the men’s section because there are always a half dozen chairs lined up by the changing rooms and they are always all filled with the husband or boyfriend waiting on their spouse to try on the clothes that will cost a fortune.
Knowing that it is vacation my wife knew that she could spend a little more on clothes while I knew I could get away with eating a little less healthy. A win win. (If you are not married you will understand these fun compromises when you become married)
After waiting twenty minutes or so I decided to walk around the little store, son in hand. I came across the “Christian” section, which was inevitably filled with all sorts of trinkets that had Biblical verses on them (NIV translation, of course).
While reading each verse I could steadily feel my eyes slowly rolling into the back of my skull. Before I was truly saved I always thought, “How wonderful, a Christian store! We must support their mission”. Since becoming a decent (at my best) student of the gospel, I have come to realize that 100% of these verses are taken out of context. Sometimes they are out of the OT and often time they are misconstrued from the NT. These verses are usually happy-go-lucky and are supposed to show Christ as our best friend.
If you cannot read the top picture I took, the verse is Matthew 6:34. This was the first trinket that tickled my fancy so lets just go ahead and grab some verses before and after this verse in the book of Matthew: (I did not do this before the blog posting so I could be genuinely surprised and give a genuine response… I wanted to be proven wrong)
‘For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ‘Matthew 6:32-34
As you can see, Matthew 6:24 isn’t even fully quoted. Now this example is not as blasphemous as some, but you can still see that the full context of the passage is needed. To make Matthew 6:24 a powerful verse, you must also grab Matthew 6:23 to give you comfort. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.
Matthew 19:26 is notoriously taken out of context. By itself, this verse is very promising and comforting. Knowing that all things are possible with God is a great feeling to have, especially since we worship such an amazing God in Jesus Christ.
Lets apply the same test we did with Matthew 6:24 and see what we find:
‘Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:24-26
As stated before, Matthew 6:24 is a great promise, but it is even a greater promise to us when taken in its full context. What an amazing promise, for that it is stating that God is the only power that can save our wretched, sick souls. Being a rich man cannot get you in to heaven, being a man that has committed good deeds cannot get into heaven alone. But the ONLY way that someone can enter the Kingdom of Heaven is through the power of Christ and Christ alone.
Genesis 28:15… this one will be easy.
‘Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” Genesis 28:14-16
I am not simply making this post to poke fun at the boutique we went to. To be honest, I actually enjoyed being there with my wife and actually enjoyed the shopping experience. It was not nearly as dreadful as it sometimes is shopping with your wife. I mean… she could have taken me to … Kohl’s.
But this post is more of a warning. As you can see, sometimes verses on a cute board or painting can be a great reminder of God’s love. But, these verses are often taken out of context and simplified for a sissy Christianity that has sprung up. These verses bring us a false hope and present to us a false gospel. Truth is, when you see someone’s house full of these cute signs, they are often the ones void of the Holy Spirit.
Before you think you I am being hypocritical and legalistic, I should tell you I have a 116 tattoo on my arm from Lecrae’s rap group. I got in when I was falsely converted and I am saving up to get it covered up with a different tattoo.