The intellectual credentials of Christianity’s message are very strong, much stronger than is often acknowledged. When Christians are troubled by doubts, they only need to look at rival conventional systems in our world to see they are far less credible than faith in God. As I witness humanity’s desperate pursuit to find reason for life, I am saddened by the rejection of Christian contribution to the discussion.
For example, our world’s new social experimentation of ‘cancel culture’ really could do with Christian alternative perspective! ‘Cancel culture’ encourages the removal of historical figures and current day high profile personalities due to their faults or lack of conformity to current social perspectives. Moral high ground is claimed for such action of “you are cancelled” based on the offence perceived by groups or individuals while refusing to allow any discussion or reconciliation.
The warning for Christians is, however, cancel culture and its associated new narratives has a much wider impact by being selective on who’s in and who’s out in the world of social acceptance! This is increasingly seen in the call for the suppression of historical views of marriage, gender and sexuality and the unborn child’s right to life. These views are currently presented as offensive Christian perspective that is worthy of social rejection, both of the message and the messenger.
The Bible has a distinctly different perspective by uniquely calling on men and women to accept their human condition in order to find life! This is the Bible’s lifesaving difference. It is found in the unique way Christianity gives us hope through an invitation to honest self-examination. The Gospel clearly explains the problem we have as individuals and a society. In both the Old and New Testament, the Bible speaks of the human condition called sin!
Romans 3 v 23
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Sin is universal
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Sin effects humanity’s core.
“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”
Sin leaves us with no excuse.
Not a great picture, is it? Far from sin being presented as an archaic belief, the Bible’s invitation to acknowledge our own struggle with sin is ultimately the most liberating invitation we could hear as individuals. This honesty allows us to move from a position of denial and even deception to moving towards God's invitation to receive the cure. To this reality of sin, the Bible declares that the only antidote for sin is found in the mission of Jesus! Jesus himself said, John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
So how can we present the Gospel’s essential message of the bad news of sin in our world where the word SIN is seen as inappropriate within social narrative?
Might I respectfully suggest Christian’s need to accept sin’s reality personally and stop pretending that they are above the need of God’s grace daily.
Be honest with yourself
1 John 1:1-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” There is no place for pride. Christians must acknowledge that they too are sinners who are recipients of God’s mercy!
Engage in confessional prayer
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Negligence in engaging in confessional prayer as individuals and as Christian community robs us of unhindered fellowship with God and others.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” Christians and non-Christians face exactly the same struggles and temptations in life. Testifying to God’s grace in helping you with your weaknesses, struggles and sin in daily life is a key to winning your neighbour’s confidence and enquiry.
Actively engage in reconciliation
Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, least you too be tempted.” Jesus demonstrated a model of close contact with those broken by sin. Don’t be surprised by what you find as you become God’s hands and feet, rather be convinced that you have the message of reconciliation and life to share.
Are you a sinner? Yes, you are! When Christians understand that they are sinners saved by God’s grace and not by merit or their own effort, then they will grasp God’s provision to deal with a lifetime of past, present and future sin! Our pathway to bringing people to Jesus is best conveyed through honesty, confession, and transparency in order to be true ministers of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
Am I a sinner? Yes, a sinner who has found the Saviour!