A few weeks ago, the Episcopal diocese in America voted to remove gender pronouns for God in updated versions of their Book of Common Prayer.
I think many in our world believe in a gospel of “you’re ok.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about liberal Christianity.
They place a strong emphasis on love. And love is obviously important. The greatest commandment that Jesus gives is to love God and to love our neighbor. Not just to love our neighbor, but to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
But here’s where liberal Christians get it wrong.
They emphasize love to the exclusion of other aspects of God.
God is love. But he is not only love. God is also holy. God is also wise. God is also just and a judge.
And when we hold up love as the only aspect of God that matters, it will ultimately lead to affirming that which is blasphemous.
The gospel is not there to tell us that we’re all ok. Actually, it’s the opposite of that message. We are not called to love sin. Nowhere in the Bible is sin seen as a good thing. The Bible teaches that all of humanity is sinful. In fact, we are so sinful that the only way that we could be reconciled to God was for God to bear the cost of our sin. Jesus did that on the cross.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Absolutely, we see the love of God in the gospel. But we also see his justice. Sin has an eternal penalty apart from Christ. And while he went to the cross to show his love, it also shows the cost of sin. Let us not take sin lightly.
When we try to decide what is good apart from God’s moral law, it ends up becoming merely the opinions of men. As the common refrain in the Bible’s book of judges goes: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).”
God is love but he is also wise. And just as we can’t pick and choose who to love (we are called to love everyone, to want what’s best for everyone, to have concern for people) we also cannot pick and choose which aspects of God’s wisdom and morality we want to like. It’s all true.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches: blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessedness is not in pursing worldly goals, it’s not in “following your truth,” it’s not in doing what makes you happy. It’s having a desire for the righteousness of the righteous and holy God who created the universe.
And because God loves us, he doesn’t desire for us to be kept the same when we come to him. It’s not a difference of opinion between us and God in regards to sin. It’s truth and falsity.