Ephesians 2:8

Let’s label.

That’s a favourite game among Christians.

Anyone can play, but it’s especially appealing to those who are given to oversimplification. And it helps if you speak with a measure of authority. You’ll gain stature in the group if you look down and frown a little as you affix the label to the person in question.

Labels vary. There are “temperament” labels. “She’s a choleric, poor thing ... married to a melancholic!”

These are akin to “emotional” labels. “Well, you know her—she’s nervous” or “He’s a classic neurotic, a perfectionist to the core.”

Of course, “doctrinal” labels are most popular among evangelicals. One guy is tagged a liberal, another neo-evangelical, and still others conservative—with a host of in-between shades. If a person mentions the sovereignty of God too much, we affix the Calvinist label. If she’s convinced that God’s future program is clearly spelled out in Daniel and Revelation, we brand her a classic pre-millenialist. If one thinks that the Bible sets forth distinct eras during which humanity’s relationship with God has unique characteristics, the label is dispensationalist, a sinister-sounding term very few people even understand! Another label that’s still on the scene is fundamentalism ... a title that includes basic tenets and life outlooks that, in the mind of the “labeller,” are unrelated to the fundamentals of the faith.

Now then, to be completely honest about it, it is occasionally helpful to lick a label and stick it on. It saves a bundle of time, and it can communicate a fairly clear mental picture. However—it is important that we guard against using a wrong label, and risk damaging that individual’s true image or position in others’ eyes. How much better if we view people as God does, depraved sinners, all of whom need His grace.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).

In the light of that truth, grace throws our labels out the window! Praise His name.


Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord ... Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright ©2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.