50 Shades of Grey: What You Need To Know

By Rachel Reed, MBC Arlington Director of Women’s Ministries

When I began this post, my intention was to write every reason I believe women in our church should not see the upcoming film “50 Shades of Grey”. It was out of my fear that many women within our church would, under the banner of entertainment, decide God’s Word was irrelevant when they lined up to see this movie. However, there are many great articles like “Fifty Shades, Twilight and Teaching Young Women to Desire Abusers” that speak to my point.

I would rather use this space to help equip you with tools in which you can filter any piece of entertainment you may be considering.

“O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see,
there’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love.
So, be careful little eyes what you see.”

Most of us are familiar with this little nursery rhyme. Many of you may have rocked your little one to sleep whispering this tune, praying it takes root in their young heart. But how true it is, “O be careful little eyes what you see!” Why is it important for us to guard what our eyes see? What we view and hear is a window into our mind. What enters our mind will soon make its way into our hearts.

Paul addresses this in Philippians 4:8 saying, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

I don’t know about you, but this passage convicts me.My natural instinct opposes dwelling on true, lovely and excellent things. At the slightest moment of apathy, it is much more natural for my mind to dwell on comparison, envy and fantasy. Which leads me to wonder, if I am in a lifelong pursuit to see my mind transformed to be more like the God I serve, why would I feed myself with anything antagonistic to this pursuit of godliness? What I feast my eyes upon will inevitably shape my thoughts. Am I viewing what is true? What is honorable and right?

Whether you believe it or not, entertainment teaches you how to think, feel and act. I know the temptation could be to feel you can’t watch anything these days if we filter it through Philippians 4:8. However, engaging in the dialogue our culture is having with us through entertainment can be beneficial if we know how to filter it through a biblical worldview. Rather than simply watching a movie to get lost in its fantasy, ask yourself what it is teaching you about life, love and expectations. Then ask yourself what God has to say about those things. Through this engagement, you may even learn more of what God has to say and His heart to protect you.

While we have the Christian liberty to watch or read anything at our disposal, not all accessible entertainment is for our benefit. So, how do we discern what to allow in our minds through entertainment while still enjoying a good film or book? Here are a few questions that will aid in discerning what we should allow in our minds:

Why am I watching this movie or choosing this book?
Am I looking to live vicariously through this story in an attempt to escape reality? If so, this should be a warning sign. The subtle tide of discontentment will begin to wash over you as you long all the more for this story to be your reality.

Will this experience cause people to think I advocate the behavior I am seeing, even if I don’t?
1 John 2:5-6 teaches us, “…By this we know we are in Him: The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” As disciples of Jesus, we are called to walk in such a manner that as people imitate our lives, they will ultimately become more like Christ. The phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” should not be the mantra of a disciple’s life.

Would seeing this film compromise my evangelistic platform with non-believers?
Our final commandment from Jesus in Matthew 28:19 is to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…” This knowledge should shape how we live our lives. Our decisions should be filtered through the lens of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, God’s desire is that I become more like Him, and my mission on earth is to bring people to Him. That is not a grey area. Let’s not try to resurrect everything we died to and were buried with Christ in by aiding our flesh under the justification of “entertainment”. A $12 movie ticket is not worth falling back into pornography, lust, materialism or any other fleshly struggle you’ve once known victory in. It is not worth the battle your mind will face. It is not worth the missed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! The costly and precious blood of Jesus that redeemed me from a life of enslavement to sin is worth far more than any piece of earthly entertainment I could ever find.

How to Display Christ in the Midst of Racial Tension

By Nate Crew, @MBCSilverSpring Director of Outreach

Over the last few months, several tragedies around the country have raised the nation’s conscious to the racial tension that exists in America. Benjamin Watson, an NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, took to Facebook to share his thoughts in response to the events and Grand Jury decision related to the death of teenager Michael Brown after an altercation with a police officer in Ferguson, MO. Watson addressed this tragedy through a Christian perspective, but also through the lens of personal experience.

As a church, we must remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not theoretical but makes an actual difference in our day-to-day life. One of those differences is that in Christ, we are reconciled to God and to one another (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). This has major implications for our behavior. 

This has major implications for our behavior.
With that in mind and in light of Watson’s article, here are a couple of opportunities for us as a church to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10), which we do when we live out the Gospel in such a way that shows it to not only be true but beautiful.

Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Watson speaks of “bearing the weight of being a minority.” God tells us in Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” If someone is burdened by holding up a heavy weight, we get under it with them and help to hold it up. On the cross, Christ not only lifted our burden (of sin) but also pushed us out from under it and let it crush Him instead. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when we bear the burdens of others. We can do this by listening, praying, serving and simply by being present.

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15)
Watson is not alone but expresses the feelings of millions of men and women around the country. One implication of bearing one another’s burdens is that we sympathize and show compassion for the emotional burdens of others. In Romans 12:16 we are told to “live in harmony with one another.” One way that harmony is achieved is by compassionately sympathizing with the pain and prosperity of others regardless of their position. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when we rejoice and weep with one another, especially when we do so across racial, ethnic and cultural lines.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:5)
Watson speaks of some comments being “not only insensitive but dismissive to the pain of others.” The implication is that we should not speak until we have practiced the previous two commands. If we are bearing one another’s burdens and sympathizing with their emotions, then our speech is more apt to be gracious and seasoned. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when our speech displays the grace and love of Christ.

Here are a few questions for self-reflection in light of the truths above:

  • Do I have close relationships with those of other races, cultures and ethnicity so that I am able to know and bear their burdens, to weep and rejoice with them?
  • Am I emotionally connected to the painful experiences of others, or am I generally indifferent?
  • Have I been more concerned with the facts of the case than the souls of people involved on all sides?
  • Is all my speech (even on social media) gracious and seasoned?

As we reflect on our own lives and the wonderful truth of Gospel reconciliation, my prayer is that we become a people who more fully and joyfully “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 3)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

If you want to ruin a happy hour, ask about your co-workers’ student loans. Or if you want to stress out your roommate, ask about her plan to pay off her credit card bill.

In our series on delayed adulthood, we come to a four-letter word: DEBT. For many of us talking about our debt is a downer, and we would rather avoid thinking about it. Four out of 10 Millennials are “overwhelmed” by their debt according to a recent CNN study. Many of us have accumulated student debt, credit card debt, car payments, etc. that are well above our earning capacity…and we don’t have much of a real plan to pay off those obligation.

But really, the issue goes beyond debt. There are a series of paradoxes for some of us, like the following, that point to delayed adulthood:

  • We can afford the must-have new apparel for the season, but we can’t pay more than the minimum on our credit card.
  • We can pick up the bar tab, but we can’t save for the future.
  • We can justify expensive vacations and road trips, but we can rationalize not giving to the church or going on a missions trip.

Do you see the theme? Some of us have the mindset (whether we would say it out loud or not) “have fun now, get out of debt later.” This can be summed up in the word “procrastination”, which is a defining label of delayed adulthood.

For the Christian, this is ultimately an issue of our spiritual priorities. Here are two questions to ask yourself as you evaluate what it would look like to grow in maturity in the area of money management:

1. What do my credit card and bank account statements tell me about what I desire most?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Mike Kelsey, MBC Silver Spring Campus Pastor hit this heavily in his sermon, “The Grace to Come”, about setting our minds on eternity. A fundamental sign of spiritual maturity for the Christian is delayed gratification—the willingness to forgo temporary pleasure (at least as defined by our culture and our own flesh) in order to gain permanent, deep and eternal joy and pleasure.

2. What do my spending habits, schedule and hobbies tell me about how I’m investing my resources?
Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” The spiritually mature are wise because they prioritize their time and resources according to God’s priorities not the world’s priorities.

So if you find yourself in the category of delayed adulthood in your approach to money, what should you do about it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Confess and repent. This is always the right first step. Ask God to give you the heart desire and self-control you will need to grow in maturity.
  • Get accountability. You will need a team to help.
  • Reprioritize. Establish your priorities around God’s priorities.
  • Get a Plan. This may include the need for some further financial and biblical education about money. I recommend Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” as well as Crown Financial studies through MBC Tysons. We will have another Money 101 workshop at MBC Arlington in June.

Trust me, there will never be a better time to address your debt and spending habits than when you are young. The habits you get into now will carry over when you are older. And if you’re not a Millennial, but a Gen Xer or even a Baby Boomer, and realize this describes you, it’s not too late. God wants to use you and your resources for much more than you can imagine! Don’t delay.

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 2)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

Recently, I started a blog series addressing one of the biggest challenges facing millennials today: Delayed adulthood. This cultural epidemic is a destructive philosophy built on the false premise that you can wait until you are 40 (or older) to pursue maturity in various areas of your life without incurring any problems. To the contrary, delayed adulthood robs us of our true joy, purpose and significance during the most available and passionate years of life while sowing future seeds of destruction.

One way that many young adults delay adulthood is by avoiding their childhood baggage. And believe me, we have tons of it. Let’s look at some statistics*.

Daddy Deprivation

  • 24 million children (34%) live without their biological father.
  • 27% live in single-parent homes.

Broken Commitments

  • 1 million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.


  • 6 million children are abused in some way every year.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped or were victims of attempted rape (44% of victims are under age 18).

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that we all have baggage with a range of severity from our childhood or teens of some type.

The reality is that we all have baggage with a range of severity from our childhood or teens of some type.
You might feel like you are alone with your baggage, but believe me, as a pastor I talk to guys and gals regularly who have dysfunctional family issues, abuse issues, sexual regrets, addictions and other baggage that they have yet to unpack. Let’s get real—the vast majority of young men (my guess from seven years of young adult ministry is about 85%), Christian or not, have an ongoing addiction to some version of pornography. This number is growing among young women as well.

And yet, it pains me to know that many of us would rather delay, ignore or attempt to bury this baggage. This is pure self-deception. Check out Proverbs 14:8, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

The prudent person is someone that sees that their past, present and future are all connected. This person carefully considers their “ways” (the patterns, decisions and baggage from the past) so that they can heal, make changes and ultimately mature. However, the fool doesn’t see the connection between their past, present and future. The fool thinks that the past won’t hinder them and their baggage won’t hold them back. The truth is, turning 40 won’t fix it. Burying it won’t fix it. Marriage won’t fix it. And having kids won’t fix it. But all of this will make it worse—guaranteed.

So what do we do with our baggage? Here are some short thoughts.

1. Desire to deal with your baggage
If you don’t, pray and ask God to give you the desire fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Be honest
Ephesians 5:13 show us that the first step is getting this baggage out into the light so we can begin healing. We need to be honest with ourselves, with God and with other godly people that we trust about our baggage.

3. Study Scripture that targets your baggage
You need to understand what God has to say about it and how He tells us to address it.

4. Talk to a pastor
Seek counsel and recommended resources for your baggage. There are lots of godly experts within the body of Christ that God intends for us to utilize for healing.

5. See a Christian counselor
For the same reason above.

6. Pursue regular biblical community
Join a small group—this is how we carry out “one another” passages in Scripture (bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, pray for one another, etc.) for our healing and transformation.

I can tell you from personal experience that while it is painful in the short-term to deal with your baggage, it will produce a harvest of maturity and freedom in the future. So dig deep and press on toward maturity in Christ!

*Statistics from Restoring Manhood by Eric Mason, National Census, the CDC, RAINN and NY Times

Read Part 1 of “Don’t Wait Until You’re Older”

How to Begin the New Year

By Mike Kelsey, @MBCSilverSpring Campus Pastor

As we envision the next 363 days, all of us have a desire—if not some sort of resolution—to do some things better this year. If we’re smart, we’ll not only desire and resolve to make some changes, but we’ll create a plan to help turn our commitments into priorities. But the single most important thing to keep at the forefront of our minds as we begin this new year is the character and nature of God—the God who was with us this past year and who will be with us this year.

No matter what we do or fail to do, God will be God, and He will be with us and for us. So I’d like to challenge each of us with an exercise this weekend (or over the next week):

  1. Take time to reflect on how God worked (a) IN you, (b) THROUGH you, (c) FOR you, and (d) AROUND you in 2014. Literally, write down ways you’ve seen Him work in each of those categories. As you do that, write down any Scripture that comes to mind related to God’s work in those areas.
  2. Once you’ve made your list (either all at one time or over a period of days), spend time thanking and praising God for the specific ways you’ve seen Him work.
  3. Set up a time with your discipleship group or with good friend(s) over a meal to share what God has done.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
Psalm 77:11-14

What Are You Anticipating?

By Rachel Reed, @MBCArlington Director of Women’s Ministries

Have you ever eagerly anticipated a great event? A wedding, a long awaited reunion, or even a special meal? Sometimes, after all the anticipation, it doesn’t go as you had hoped or expected, and you’re left wanting more. What if there was something or someone who would always fulfill all that you anticipate?

Since the beginning of time, people have lived in anticipation of something greater, knowing deep within that there has to be more to life than what we can see. All those millennia of wondering and anticipating were answered in Jesus. Jesus, who was God born in human flesh, came to fulfill our greatest longing. He came so we can know and live in a personal relationship with God Himself—the greatest purpose of all. There is nothing disappointing in that!

Often we experience disappointments because we are hoping to be fulfilled by something that was never intended to fully satisfy us. But Jesus came to give us abundant life. Through His perfect life and sacrificial death on our behalf, we can have a hope that will never be disappointed.

To understand this abundant life and hope that Jesus offers, we must first be willing to surrender our own ways and admit that we can never be good enough to earn God’s grace. The good news is that we don’t have to earn it. Jesus offers God’s grace to us freely when we believe that He truly is all He claimed to be, the Savior of all mankind. We can trust what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10:11, “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 1)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

What is one of the biggest challenges facing Millennials today? Delayed adulthood. What do I mean by “adulthood?” Well, I’m not defining adulthood in a rigid way (ie: marriage, financial independence, house, kids or steady job). Adulthood has far less to do with these socio-economic factors and much more to do with a philosophical framework that we approach life, AKA—our worldview. It’s a worldview that rationalizes and celebrates a delay in facing serious, difficult and healthy rights of passage, and the establishment of these patterns in our youth. To make it practical, one of the most common phrases I hear from my generation is, “I’ll wait until I’m older to… (fill in the blank).”

What can you fill in the blank with?

  • Pay off my debt
  • Start giving
  • Get into a serious relationship
  • Make a commitment to a church
  • Leadership
  • Serve in a ministry
  • Deal with my childhood baggage
  • Address my bad habits
  • Get serious about my spiritual life
  • Prioritize my life around God


Even if you’ve never said it out loud, I’m sure you have all thought like this.
Even if you’ve never said it out loud, I’m sure you have all thought like this. Believe me, this was my mantra at one point in my life! We live in a culture (particularly in Metro DC) that doesn’t just tolerate this worldview, but celebrates and fuels it. Just think of the billions of dollars of marketing and number of businesses that thrive on our delayed adulthood. Almost every comedy in the past 10 years focuses on celebrating delayed adulthood (think Old School, Step Brothers…almost every Will Ferrell movie, The Hangover, Friends, Seinfeld, Two and A Half Men, etc.).

Why is this a problem?
1. This is a destructive philosophy that goes directly against God’s Word. Scripture is constantly calling us to, “Grow up!”
(Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Peter 2:1-4, Hebrews 6:1-3). Growing up means that we are willing to confront the list above, not in our 40′s but now. When we disregard God’s timeline, in essence, we are choosing the philosophy of this world to dictate the course of our lives.

2. We miss out on blessing, joy, purpose and eternal significance during our most available and passionate years of life. As a young adult, you will never have more time and freedom in your life than you do right now. Believe it. And because of this, when we delay adulthood we are robbing ourselves, our world, and God of some of the greatest years of impact we can make.

3. Delaying adulthood brings destruction into our lives. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Unfortunately many of us are self-deceived because we think we can do whatever we want because we are young and then snap our fingers when we are ready to be an adult and clean the slate. Sorry, life doesn’t work like that. God has set up the universe on the sowing and reaping principles. Think about your life right now… The habits, hobbies, struggles, dominating themes, priorities that you have in your life right now are being planted in the soil of your heart and soul. You will harvest what it is you are planting, good or bad, later down the road.

So what do we do about it? 
Start making a list of the things you are delaying. Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing many of these issues specifically on this blog and offering hope and a path forward from God’s Word.

Living Symbols: The Tale of Two Fowl Cousins

By Joe Henriques, @MBCTysons Campus Pastor

The time has come once again to remember the tale of two fowl cousins: The bald eagle and the turkey. Back when America was very young, there was a lot of talk about the turkey. That’s because our founders were trying to figure out which bird qualified to become the symbol of this newborn nation.

National Symbol
Benjamin Franklin had suggested, “How about the turkey?” To him, the bald eagle’s distant cousin was perhaps a better choice. He wrote to his daughter, “For the Truth, the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America…He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

Good points. But as we know, the bald eagle won the votes to stand as our national symbol, representing the moral fiber of America. We feel good when we see the bald eagle sitting majestically high on the branch of a tree.

The Blessings Symbol
We feel even better when we see the turkey sitting on a plate in the middle of our table. For a different reason, of course! And it isn’t just because the turkey tastes so good! It’s because the turkey has come to represent the blessings of God. In the early 1600s, the newly arrived Pilgrims and Native Americans joined each other in fellowship around the table, to thank God for bringing them through the ruthless winter and harsh realities of beginning life in a new world. From that first Thanksgiving until now, the turkey stands as the symbol of blessing.

As we offered our boxes of turkey dinners at Turkey Outreach on Saturday, we were saying to those who received them, “In Christ’s name, we offer this blessing of God to you.” As we gather with families and friends on Thanksgiving Day for feasting and football, we push pause on the festivities to offer heartfelt gratitude to our great God, “Father, in Jesus’ name, we thank you for the liberality of your love, mercy, and faithfulness, given to us and to our nation, in spite of our clear unworthiness. Amen!”

God’s Symbols
What symbol has God chosen to represent the magnificent qualities of our Savior Jesus Christ and the vastness of his amazing blessings? The choice wasn’t a tough one for God. He chose his children: That’s you and me. He chose us. We, the people of God are his living symbols to represent the brilliancy of His moral character and the grandeur of His generosity. Peter, the Apostle, wrote: “Show others the goodness of God…proclaim…and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!” I Peter 2:9 (NLT, NASB, and Amplified Bible).

So, let the celebrations of Thanksgiving begin! Be the symbol of God to those around you. May others see, taste, feel, smell and hear of God’s love and blessing through you! During this time in America’s history, our nation is in great need for these truths of God.

The Mark of Manhood

By Charlie Thomas, @MBC Arlington Leader

We’ve all done what David did, and, unfortunately, it’s not defeating Goliath. So, what have we done? At the 2014 MBC Men’s Conference, speaker Jonathan “JP” Pokluda challenged us by bringing to life the greatest triumph and the greatest tragedy of David’s life: Victory over Goliath and his fall with Bathsheba. While David’s sin with Bathsheba was certainly egregious, Christ tells us, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” Matthew 5:28.

As I sat in the conference listening to JP talk about David’s fall and read that verse, my stomach churned at the thought of cheating on my wife of two months. But the stark reality is that for any of us—single or married—who have ever allowed our eyes and minds to wander in lust, we have committed adultery in our hearts. When we allow God to define sin, we realize that we are far more broken that we ever dared to imagine.

Before I trusted Christ three years ago, I recall thinking it was absurd that “lust” could be equal to “adultery.” At that time, I believed our cultural norms regarding manhood and sex, but the Christianity found in the Bible and explained at the conference runs counter to our culture on these topics. This is particularly evident in how we find our identity and develop relationships with others.

As Christian men, our identities are to be solely found in Christ, not in any achievements, successes or self-gratification. This is really a freeing concept because we don’t have to meet the cultural standards of salary, sex and supremacy for our manhood. Rather, manhood is marked by faith, humility and sexual purity as an act of worship and thankfulness to God (among other characteristics). While true, it’s very difficult to do on our own.

That’s why we have to be honest with other guys and develop relationships predicated on the principles in the Bible. I’ve benefitted from these deep friendships with three men, in which we were honest with each other about our struggles, studied together, and held each other accountable. However, in life’s transitions, we gradually moved to different cities, committed to different churches, and fell out of our regular conversations.

David’s faithfulness and reliance on God earlier in life did not protect him from future temptations and mistakes of shirking responsibility and adultery. Why should I expect such protection, having the same sinful nature as David, but with less wisdom, faith and discipline? Attending the conference with several other men from MBC Arlington helped knock down some of those prideful barriers and reawakened my need for honest, accountable relationships to fight for purity.

What about you? The stakes are high; so let’s fight together as men pursuing the honor of Christ!

Unlikely Allies

By Nate Keeler, Campus Pastor @MBCArlington

The Pharisees, most of us know. They were the politically conservative, religious elite who opposed the Roman occupation of Israel and sought a return to strict observance of the Mosaic Law and their own regulations they heaped on top of the Law. They believed that religious observance and morality were the way of self-salvation. The Herodians we may be less familiar with. The Herodians, as the name implies, were a Jewish political party that favored the Roman control led by Herod. The Herodians were the politically progressive, moral relativists of the day. They wanted to bring the full Roman influence into the Jewish community of the day. They believed that self-discovery and the progress of the Roman empire were the means to salvation. The Pharisees saw themselves as good moralists and the Herodians as deviant rebels. The Herodians saw themselves as good, self-actualizing citizens and the Pharisees as narrow-minded, self-righteous bigots. Unlikely allies? I think so!

In Mark 3 we see Jesus getting into conflict with the Pharisees for healing on the Sabbath (a period of time to abstain from work).

“Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” Mark 3:4-6

Jesus points out the Pharisees hypocrisy with a question that stumped the religious elite—is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath? But the hearts of the Pharisees were so full of pride that they refused to reconsider their hypocrisy. Instead of repentance they did the unthinkable—they linked up with their enemies, the Herodians, to plot to kill Jesus.

The cross of Christ doesn’t say the good are in and the bad are out.
These unlikely allies represent two broad categories of religion that we see today—the morally self-righteous and the independent moral relativists. Both are religious systems of self-salvation who think they don’t need Jesus’ righteousness. Yet the irony is that the cross of Christ doesn’t say the good are in and the bad are out, or the morally self-righteous are right and the morally independent are wrong. The cross of Christ does away with the religious systems and clears the deck. The wonder of the cross is that Jesus died for both groups of enemies who wanted him dead.