My Confession

Posted: January 27, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Christian living, Current Issues, Devotional, Emerging Church, Reform, Revival, The Church

Last night I was watching a video of Paul Washer, a Southern Baptist pastor and missionary.  Washer is a bit of a Calvinist, so I don’t agree with him on everything.  But he makes some very good points.  He does a good job of emphasizing Jesus as the very center of our lives, but he rightly points out that if Jesus really is the center, it will be reflected in our lives.  At one point in his sermon he uses an excellent illustration.

Let us say, hypothetically, I’m going to speak at a Church in Fairmont.  Now let’s say I’m late, and as my excuse I say I had a flat tire. The lug nut fell off, and as I went to get it a 30 ton logging truck ran me over. That’s why I’m late.  Washer points out there are only two logical conclusions:  1.  I’m a liar.  2.  I’m insane.  It is impossible to have an encounter with something of that magnitude and not be changed.  Yet God is so much more powerful then a logging truck, and so many people claim to have encountered Him but there is no change!  What must we say?  We must say they are either 1.  A Liar, or 2.  Insane.

This is my confession, not that I haven’t encountered God, but that I’ve been compromised.  I spend time watching The Office laughing at the very things God hates.  At the same time I spend minimal amounts of time praying.

That’s not just spiritually crippling, it’s sin.  It’s adultery (yes, I mean adultery).  Is Christianity about a loving relationship with Jesus Christ?  Absolutely it is, but because I love Jesus I must hate those things that stand between Him and I.  Some people want to emphasize love so much that we ignore sin. We think God winks at sin.  God doesn’t wink at our sin because He loves us. He despises sin all the more because He loves us.

Because God loves us, He hates those things that harm us.  He hates murder, because it harms His children.  He hates theft, because it harms His children.  He hates sexual deviance because it ultimately harms us.  Some people propose that love leads to the acceptance of sin. I would say love leads to the exclusion of sin.  Love and sin are mutually exclusive.  They can not both be present at the same time.  We can not love God and love sin. We can love God and hate sin or we can love sin and hate God. But we can’t love both at the same time.

I can’t help but feel that much of Christianity is watered-down.  Think about it; Churches are splitting over the issue of homosexuality.  Before this century there was wide-spread agreement as to the morality of homosexual behavior.  But as soon as society starts to re-adjust, we give up and try to re-interpret the Word of God to make it fit what our society deems appropriate.  The Southern Conference of the American Baptist Church split from the main body a few years ago, and West Virginia almost joined the split.  Why?  Because the Southern Conference believed the main body was compromised in dealing with this issue.

On the opposite extreme we have groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who are just as much in error.  Do I believe homosexuality is morally wrong?  Absolutely I do.  Do I believe God hates homosexuals? Do I believe we should ostracize people with that tendency? Do I believe we should shun them?  Absolutely not!  Because we must understand that sin, even sin we may not personally struggle with, is a problem of human nature.  I was born with a tendency to lie, yet no one protests at liar’s funerals.  And we shouldn’t, because that’s not how God desires for us to handle these situations.  Why is it that with a liar people from WBC would share God’s plan of Salvation, but with a homosexual they will say God hates them and offer no hope?

How skewed are we?  Why is it we listen to those that are theologically liberals, and those that are theologically legalists, but never to someone who rightly divides the Word of Truth and realizes that the whole Word of God works together to show us a more clear picture of God.

We don’t have a God of judgment or love; we have a God of judgment and love.  I would say a God who judges because of love.  Justice and mercy are not at odds. Jesus coming and dying for our sins was the greatest act of mercy and grace any of us have ever had done for us.  It is justice that demands payment for sin, and mercy and grace that provided the payment.  They are not contradictory, they are complimentary.

Once we start saying that God doesn’t care about sin, once we tolerate sin, we are in effect denying the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice.  If there is no sin, if God accepts anything, then why do we need a Savior?  If there is no justice that demands a payment for sin, then God’s demonstration of love towards us was a waste.

See, compromise leads us down a dangerous road.  Legalism is an equally dangerous road, because if all that is necessary for Salvation is works, then we have again invalidated Christ’s sacrifice. Legalism and liberalism are two opposite ways of arriving at the same place.

How does this relate to any of us today?  I know I’m compromised.  That’s why this bothered me so much.  I know I spend more time watching TV and movies then I do praying.  Prayerlessness is a sin of the most insidious kind because it requires we disregard the importance and necessity of fellowship with God.  And once we start on that path our thought processes begin to reflect the world’s. Our speech and behavior begins to reflect the world.  Our materialistic preferences begin to take precedence over God.

Christianity is a relationship; I don’t want anyone to misunderstand.  But our relationship with Christ results in a practical demonstration of being made into His likeness more and more.  Maybe we won’t keep listening to music that exalts the very things God hates.  Maybe we won’t keep watching movies, living by a culture, and spending money to entertain ourselves with the very things God hates.  Honestly, I don’t know where you are at.  What you need to do is something you must answer.  But the questions must be asked, a search must commence, and repentance must be made.

God bless!
Josiah

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