Playing in the Key of Moralism

We get so mad about the way the world portrays we Christians. We get upset when they don’t understand the bible like we do. We get angry when we don’t always get our way, because our way is the right way, darn it! Don’t they see that?

We’re entitled, and self-righteous when we do that, you know? And we miss the whole point of the Christian faith.

We really aren’t trying to win some culture war.

Let’s say we do win. What then? You got your religious President, your illegal abortion, homeostasis in your worries about traditional marriage. It’s a wonderland, right? The problem is, people will still get abortions, men will still fall in love with men, and ladies will still kiss ladies. Everything some Christians worry about with a singular intensity will still be there, in full force, they will just be out of their field of vision. But maybe that’s what we’ve been after all along.

All of the stuff we fight against in the culture has always been there. It’s not like homosexuality and abortion and whatever else are new concepts. But maybe the idea really is that we don’t care what you do as long as we don’t have to think about it. As long as it feels like our bubble is sin-free.

But it’s not. It never is. You and I, oh abortionless non-homosexual, are quite the sinners. Never less guilty than any two men getting it on, or woman twiddling her thumbs nervously, waiting for the doctor to call her name.

So, even if we could make the world more like our muddled view of God’s perfect morality, what would we have accomplished? To take it even further: What’s so special about our brand of morals? Lots of religions are moral in the exact same way, and I like their followers a lot more sometimes. So, if we’re telling the world that Christianity is about how moral we are, we’re just another book in a library of choices.

In short, when we play our broken piano in the key of moral, sing the battle hymn of getting your crap together or else, we’re not preaching the gospel, and we’ve got nothing more to offer than any other halfway moral chap.

Unjust War

I’ll go out on a limb and say that the bible in no way supports our culture war mentality. In fact, I don’t think anyone outside the Church is expected to keep the moral imperatives, the rules, if you will, of the body of Christ (1 Cor 5:12). (Do they ultimately condemn those who reject God? Yes. But that’s God’s business, not ours.)

Before your underwear gets in a knot too tight, I should say that I believe the law should be preached to those still uncrushed by the depths of their sin (although living in this world, it’s hard not to find yourself underfoot of such a lofty beast). But we gotta understand that no matter how much moral truth we tell, the law of God—His perfect expressed will—does nothing to change humans.

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Yes, the moral law is beautiful. The moral law is perfect. The moral law shows us the will of God. But the moral law only crushes. But Christ… that’s another story.

If we leave people crushed, what good are we? That’s just bad news. But, Jesus is good news for the condemned. The message of His great love for the unlovely—for all of us—is our song. One song. We don’t have an album, we don’t do covers, we don’t pull from the Old Covenant classics like Do This and Live. We have one song—and it’s the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus for all us sinners.

-Chad West

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