Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | September 13, 2008

Name it and Claim it

The prosperity gospel has more in common with standard presentations of the real gospel than we might realize at first.

The prosperity gospel says that if we have faith then God will bless us. If we have faith, the TV preacher tells us, we will “name and claim” our blessing by demonstrating our faith – usually by sending money to the preacher.

What this has in common with many standard presentations of the gospel is the idea that our faith can change God. If I believe that God changes his attitude toward me, forgives me, and accepts me as his child because I believe in his power to do so then it’s really not that far of stretch to also believe that my faith can cause God to bless me.

In this theology human faith is the greatest power in the universe – greater even than God! Our faith changes the Divine disposition towards us and thus we control God.

Just one problem: what if I don’t have enough faith?

Actually, there’s an even more basic problem: how do I know how much faith is enough?

How much faith do I need to make God love me and accept me? How much faith do I need to get my mortgage paid off?

In contrast to the never-ending hamster wheel that this view of God sets up, the good news of Jesus tells us that the Father created us for adoption as his children (Eph. 1:5) and he accomplished that plan of adoption when his Son became the man Jesus and united humanity to divinity forever (Heb. 2:10-15, Rom. 5:18).

Our faith isn’t what makes us children of the Father. Jesus is the one who has made us children of the Father. The faith the Spirit gives us is to enable us to believe the truth about who Jesus has made us to be (Eph. 2:8). Such faith enables us to see that, in Christ, we have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heaven (Eph. 1:3).

When we see the truth of who we are as children of the Father in Jesus then we stop trying to make God prove his love by paying off our mortgage and start celebrating the truth of how much he has already loved us in Christ.

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Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this blog. I find your words full of peace and quite humbling. It is incredible to think about how much God loves us! It does not fail to bring tears of joy to my eyes. I suppose the real struggle, at least for me, is going away from “the mirror” and losing sight of our inclusion in Jesus even for a second and falling into the same pit of lies and despair that leads to forgetfullness. I go to church knowing this, (after hearing and reading information from theadoptedlife website) but leave church (after hearing our pastor) doubting and even forgetting this good news. What’s up with that? I don’t even know!! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Kimberly, I’m so glad this blog is a help to you! Hopefully your pastor will keep growing in the gospel and be able to encourage you and others even more!

  3. Thanks P.J. His name and presence heals.


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