Rhonda Bryne, best-selling author and friend of Oprah Winfrey, recently released a book that she believes will change your world and your life. The book is called The Secret and it topped the NY Times Bestseller’s list for several weeks. The book is really just a rehashing of a book called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles written way back in 1919. Wattles promoted what he called “The Law of Attraction.” Simply defined the Law of Attraction states that by the power of positive thinking you can achieve anything and have everything you always wanted. You can be rich just by thinking the right thoughts about yourself! Bryne picks up the Law of Attraction in The Secret. Both Byrne and Wattles’ thinking really just amounts to New Age philosophy repackaged, but Americans are eating it up. Bryne’s philosophy in the end simply amounts to narcissism (worship of self). If you don’t believe me let me show you, here is an excerpt from The Secret:
The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret.
Compare that with Colossians 1:15-20:
(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. (17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (19) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, (20) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Rhonda Bryne would have you believe that you are the center of the universe. The apostle Paul claims in Colossians 1, not only that Christ is the creator of all things but also that all things were created for Him. In other words, everything was created and continues to exist (Col. 1:17) for Christ. Thus, Christ is the center of the universe. He is before all things. He is the “firstborn of all creation.” This doesn’t mean that he was the first to be born but is a title taken from the Old Testament which simply denotes the supremacy or sovereignty of one person over another. Christ, however in contrast to any earthly ruler is “firstborn of all creation,” meaning He is sovereign and supreme over all.
There is a huge contrast between Rhonda Bryne’s view of the world and the Apostle Paul’s. If Bryne’s view of the world is correct, God is nothing more than a dotting parent who gives into his child’s every whim. According to Bryne’s worldview, if God exists, He exists for you! Bryne’s teaching reduces God to a feeble creature that bows to our every demand and desire rather than demanding the submission of our every demand and desire at His feet–which is what the God of Scripture demands. Whoever Bryne’s god is, her God is not holy. Her God does not demand worship or deserve it. Bryne’s God is much more like you and I than the God of the Bible. Bryne’s God is a pushover and in the end Bryne would claim that you are God because everything is subject to you!
Paul’s God is holy, so holy that we cannot stand before Him unless we are completely pure (Ps 15). So holy that sinners fall on their faces before Him and cry out for mercy (Isa. 6:5), one who is glorious–so glorious that we cannot measure up to Him (Rom. 3:23). And yet, despite our sin, he chose to reconcile all things to himself by the blood of the cross (Col. 1:20).
Paul’s emphasis on reconciliation in Colossians 1:20, ought to tell us that all is not right in the world. If everything was right, there would be no need for reconciliation. But the fact is that, much is very, very wrong. Though God created everything good, his creation has undergone corruption (Rom. 8:20-21) because from Adam on (Rom. 5:12-13) we have rejected God in our sin. We have neglected to realize that we were created by and for God. In our sin we have rejected the purpose for which were created–to know and worship God.
God has chosen to reconcile all things to himself through Christ’s blood shed on the cross (Col. 1:20). Although all things are not right in the world, God has promised to make them right through Christ. He created everything and everything belongs to Him, thus everything will be reconciled back to the purpose for which it was created. Not everyone will be reconciled in the same way. Some will be reconciled through faith in Christ to eternal joy (Matt. 25:23) while others will be reconciled unwillingly and will be cast “into the eternal fire with the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
Everything exists for God. Everything exists for Christ. He and the Father are one (John 10:30) as all the “fullness of God dwells” in Christ (Col. 1:19). Our biggest problem is we have neglected to live in such a way that reveals that, indeed everything exists for God.
We are all probably a little bit more like Rhonda Byrne than we are willing to admit. We might not think the world revolves around us but often act like it. We get upset when people don’t act the way we want them to. We defend ourselves unnecessarily. We continually try to hide our faults. We try to make ourselves look better than the people around us and we point fingers when things go wrong. If we are honest, our biggest problem in life is that we want the world to revolve around us but it doesn’t. The world revolves around Jesus Christ. Our failure to recognize this has left us in a dreadful state–“alienated” and “hostile in mind,” toward God (Col. 1:21). This is a state we cannot change in and of ourselves. We need God to intervene, lest we remain cut off from Him.
The good news is that God has intervened in Christ. He has reconciled all things to Himself. But how will you be reconciled in the end? Will you be reconciled to eternal glory because you have believed on Christ? Or will you be reconciled in eternal punishment?
The world doesn’t revolve around you, it revolves around Jesus . . . are you living in light of this truth? Are you living in light of the TRUE secret–that everything exists for Jesus?
In my next post I will show how Christ’s reconciliation of “all things” to himself cannot mean that all will be eternally saved in the end and address the specific reconciliation of sinners through Christ’s death on the cross.