Sunday, October 14, 2007

Relevant or relative Christianity? (Part 2 of 4)

Yesterday we asked the question, “So where’s the balance?” I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out. On the one hand I know that we must be loving and accepting of all people. But on the other hand, I know that we cannot be loving and accepting of a lifestyle of sin. Somehow, Jesus managed to navigate the slippery slope of cultural norms, calling sin, sin, yet exonerating and restoring the repentant (like the woman caught in the act of adultery) in a culture that was a lot stricter than ours. There are those who have tried to suggest that, in order for us to impact our culture, we must not only identify with their shortcomings, but we must let them know that we are no different from them save for the fact that we have Jesus indwelling our hearts. These generalists would have us believe that the only thing that makes us different is that we profess the name of Jesus and that even with Jesus in our hearts; we have the same propensity to sinful tendencies the way the irreligious do. If this were true, then it would make nonsense of the need for Jesus to indwell a heart.

He indwells us so that He can bring us slowly but certainly to a place of total and complete transformation by His Spirit. We may have the same temptations to sin, but by golly I sure hope we don’t have the same proclivity to sin. As we yield to Jesus indwelling us, we become more like Him and less like the world. It’s almost akin to getting used to walking with a new prosthetic limb after replacement surgery, it takes time and constant practice until it becomes second nature, and suddenly you find yourself doing it without sparing much thought for the process, in much the same way you respond to driving a car).

The other school of thought suggests that we should “white-knuckle” our way through our Christian experience, forcing a lid on the can of our struggles to ensure that our sin never escapes. This, they suggest, demonstrates to the irreligious our commitment to our faith and our unwillingness to condone sin in any form. The problem with that theory is that the lid will inadvertently come off the can sooner or later. But don’t take my word for it, ask those Christian leaders who have struggled with secret sin for decades of their lives until they were finally exposed, with devastating consequences for them and their families.

So if the answer is not in accepting that we are no different from the world, so that when we do sin they are more accepting of us since we have already established that we are just like them; If the answer is not in white-knuckling our way through living sinless lives so that we demonstrate how “holy” we are, then what is the answer. I don’t profess to be the authority or the expert on these matters but let me give you my own two cents for what it’s worth. I know, I know, I'm making you wait until part 3 to give you the answer. Hey, if it works on Deal or no Deal, it sure as heck works here. See you tomorrow.