It Is Christ or Nothing

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." Hebrews 13:8

In January 1968, Malcolm Muggeridge resigned as Rector of the University of Edinburgh. He left because he would not be party to the relaxation of rules at the school that prohibited students from buying and selling marijuana on campus. He faced a hostile crowd as he gave his final address to the students.

“The students of this university are the beneficiaries of centuries of selfless scholarship. You are supposed to spearhead progress and to carry on the torch of humanity. Speaking for myself there is practically nothing that you could do in a mood of rebellion against our impoverished way of life for which I should not feel some degree of sympathy. But how infinitely sad, how macabre that the form of your rebellion should be a demand for drugs, for the most tenth rate sort of self indulgence ever known in history. All is prepared for a release of new life. We await great works of art, the spirit of adventure and courage, and what do we get from you? Self centered folly. You are on a crazy slope. For myself, I always come back to the King, to Jesus, to the Christian notion that all our efforts to make ourselves happy will fail, but that sacrifice for others will never fail. A man must become a new man, or he is no man. Or so at least I have concluded, having failed to find in past experience and present dilemmas any alternative proposition. As far as I am concerned, it is Christ or nothing. Goodbye and God bless you.”

Muggeridge’s words have a continuing relevancy in light of the seemingly irresistible urge some people have to commit themselves with undiluted conviction to the most bizarre causes. From the still ongoing arguments for the legalization of drugs, to the completely unbalanced discussion of rights in general, to the moral vacuum that leads people to rationalize immoral behavior, our society continues down a crazy slope.

We all need a center, a foundation and an upward call to our lives. We need a standard that is unchanging against which we judge all options available to us. To think that you can guide yourself successfully through this world without divine help from the Author of life is yet another form of sheer folly.

The author of Hebrews had surveyed several competing claims to Christ: angels, the law, the temple. He concluded that Jesus is all-sufficient and deserving of our highest loyalty. He is the same throughout every age. He is the eternal alpha and omega.

We must occasionally revisit decisions and recommit ourselves to things that have always been most important. Today I challenge you to think carefully about your commitments, activities and attitudes. Who is guiding you? What is guiding you? I believe Christians need a daily rededication to Christ, a daily taking up of the cross to walk through an often crazy world.

Malcolm Muggeridge, as I recall, spent much of his life as a hard cynic, skeptical of the Christian faith. When he realized later in life that he lacked a foundation he gave his life to God. I pray that we all share his conviction: it is Christ or nothing.


Dr. Terry Ellis

October 15, 2012