3 Ways to View Status

Monday, October 15, 2012
If you look at the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19 you discover pretty quickly that there are 3 ways to view status.

1. Culturally Defined Status
Every culture has a way of assigning status to people; a way of ranking them and comparing them with one another.  For Zaccheus he was politically connected, wealthy, and had occupational position (rich Chief Tax-collector).  While this roughly mirrors the values of our own culture it really depends on which community you belong to.  Your community may value wealth, or lineage, or family size, or open-mindedness, but everyone has a way of ranking people and assigning them status. If you don't know the standard your culture uses you'll be condemned to blind conformity.

2. Religiously Defined Status
However a culture defines status, you can find a religion which has different categories for defining status.  Often the values that the religion promotes are self-denial, morality, and adherence to a community code.  But it is important to see that the religious community operates in the same exact way that the world operates: there is a value system and we rank you and assign your status based on your adherence to those values.  This is why many people hate organized religion.  They sense that it is not fundamentally different than the way things are at their job, but here there are even more rules you have to follow.

3. Gospel Defined Status
The alternative is a status which is defined by the gospel.  The gospel says that your status is not earned by your adherence to a set of values, but rather God in Jesus gives up his status for you so that you may be given his status.  He took the form of a slave so that you could have the status sons and daughters of God.  He did this not because you lived by his values, but so that you could live by his values.  Or to put it another way when you see yourself primarily the way that God sees you, then you know you are loved and do not feel compelled to gain your self-worth from your relationship to other people.  You gain your self-worth from your relationship to God.  And he accepts you and loves you because Jesus switched statuses with you.

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