The Message That Defines Us
By Dave Harvey
It’s been a strange, tempestuous, and sad several weeks, hasn’t it? In a landmark vote, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage. In Charleston, South Carolina, a young white man opened fire in a Bible study, killing nine African-Americans. Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, and the former head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP turned out to be a white woman who “self-identified” as black.
Several weeks ago, I spoke on the effects of the Fall. All these events are reminders of just how far we have fallen. Of just how sin corrupts everything it touches and bends it towards darkness. Sin does not simply hurt us or lead us to stumble a bit. Sin has spiritually wrecked us, making us completely unable to choose God on our own. Sin has distorted the image of God in us and has polluted our souls.
Titus 3:3 shows us just how bad the problem once was for Christians: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
Apart from God intervening, we are dead in our sins, unable to choose God and unable to choose good. Same-sex marriage, transgender issues, and Bible study massacres are all the tragic results of our rebellion. Sin causes separation from God, suppression of the truth about God, and slavery to sin. Wow, it’s pretty depressing news.
But there is good news. I love how article 4 of The Gospel Coalition Statement of Faith puts it: “...the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself…”
God alone can rescue us and restore us to himself, and that is exactly what he does through the gospel. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God rescues us from the penalty and power of sin, and restores us to fellowship with himself.
Ephesians 2:4-5 puts it like this:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”
In the midst of these sad and tempestuous times, we have a true and solid hope. We have a rock to stand upon, an anchor for our souls. Evil will not have the final say. Sin will not finally be victorious. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, will conquer.
By God’s grace, we as a church will hold fast to the gospel. It will be the message that defines us and the influence over all we do. And no decision by the government or the culture will ever change that.
As Lance said this past Sunday, “That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.”