This was a post on Justin Taylor's blog a couple of days ago. I think that it is really important that we never lose the crucified Christ as the center of our faith. It is a bloody cross and not improved morality that we must represent.
A transcribed excerpt below from Russell Moore's excellent talk, "The Devil Votes Christian Values: Why We’re Tempted to be Glorified Satanists Rather than Crucified Followers." Dr. Moore shows that in Satan's third temptation of Christ he is willing to broker a deal with the Son of God: Satan will give up his authority over the external rule of the nations in exchange for keeping the power of accusation.
Satan ultimately has a power that is not found most importantly in moral decay or in cultural chaos. His power is in the authority to accuse. The power of accusation. The power of holding humanity captive through the fear of death and the certainty of judgment. Satan is not fearful of external conformity to rule. Not even to the external conformity of the rule of Christ--provided there is no cross.
Satan does not mind family values--as long as what you ultimately value is the family. Satan does not mind social justice--as long as you see justice as most importantly social.
Satan does not tremble at a Christian worldview. He will let you have a Christian worldview as long as your ultimate goal is viewing the world. Jesus will receive the kingdoms of the world, this crafty serpent thinks, then he can hand them to him apart from the shedding of blood at the cross.
Apart from the overthrow of the demonic powers through the empty tomb.
Apart from a reconciliation between a holy God and a renegade humanity.
If he can just bypass the cross--and get to the kingdom apart from the cross--then he will have everything that he wants.
Pastor: Satan doesn't mind if you preach on the decrees of God with fervor and passion every single week--provided that you do not ever preach the gospel of the cross.
Homeschooling Mom: Satan does not mind if you teach your children all the books of the Bible and all the Ten Commandments and all of the catechism--provided you do not teach them the gospel of a bloody cross.. . .
He will let you get what it is that you want, no matter what it is--sanctity of marriage, environmental protection, orphan care, all of these good and wonderful things--he will allow you to gain those things provided you do not preach and proclaim and live through the power of a cross that cancels his power of condemnation.
He so fears the gospel of a Christ crucified and raised from the dead that he is willing to surrender his entire empire just to appease the threat of it.
This is a rich and very important message, which I commend to you.
I think that all too often, we substitute goodness for holiness. There is nothing wrong with many of the things that Christians deem important, but they are evil if they compete for supremacy with Christ.
Christ alone is to be our treasure.
Our God is a jealous God.