"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;
I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell." ~ C.T. Studd
Something has happened to Christianinity.
I am old enough, just, to remember the Billy Graham Crusades, old enough, just, to remember a different sort of Christianity. Not perfect. Harsher perhaps ~ & lacking in the expression of God's grace to sinners. Just the same, human beings seem incapable of balance & in the effort to correct a misdirection the pendulum has swung so much the other way something important has been lost: the conviction of our sin.
These days of political correctness & falacy in the name of Tolerance you don't hear much discussion of sin ~ or the correlations: Hell, repentance & holiness. The emphasis has been on God's love, God's grace, God's mercy rather than God's wrath, God's judgement, God's holiness. The truth, of course, lies in the tension, the balance, between the two extremes.
In our efforts to reach people we have watered down the truth & thus misrepresented the gospel. I have scratched my head for years wondering why so many churches are so insipid when they claim to be the servants of the living God, the Creator of Heaven & Earth & all that lies therein. I have wondered why so many Christians claim to love God yet walk like the world, talk like the world, act like the world. I have come to the conclusion that many have lost the correlation between sin & holiness.
Yep, they get John: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. They understand they have to repent ~ & about here the whole sticky mess starts unravelling. Repentance is more than *missing the mark*, as is all too often taught. It is a complete about face in mindset, exchanging the thinking of the world for God's thoughts.
Scripture is welded together. We must renew our mind, bring every thought under the control of Christ. Why? Because this is the way to holiness. This is the way we know God's thoughts ~ & thus our sin. For this purpose we are given 2 tools: Prayer & scripture. The word of God is a sword. It shows us our sin. It shows us God's truth. This is why the law should never be ignored. Here is God's standard. It shows us His expectations. It shows us how far we miss the mark. Only when this foundation is firm & sure is it possible to raise God's grace, His mercy, His love.
There is no contradiction. God hates sin. He cannot look upon it. Even when His own son became sin for our sakes, God turned away causing Christ to cry out, "My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?"
When we soak our minds in God's word His truth scours our minds & hearts ~ if we allow. Unfortunately the truth tends to terrify us. To look full into the face of our own iniquity is overwhelming & so we potter round on the fringes of Christianity, unable to enter into the fullness of life in God, unable to command the power Christ promised, castrated, weak, disabled, clinging in preference to the known grot of our sin rather than exchanging it for the garment of righteousness.
Thus we have a powerless & ineffectual church. Thus we bear so little fruit. Thus we fail to see others enter into the kingdom ~ or even want to enter in. God does not choose to use a dirty vessel, or to bless that which is unclean. Repentance is foundational to a close walk with God & a close walk with God is a walk filled with the might & power of Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit. It is through Christ & our walk with Him, & Him alone, that we are enabled to enter into God's rest: His mercy, His love, His grace.
So that's where the meditations of this fast have taken me.