Saturday, June 18, 2005

There is life, in the red letters

Paul writes to Timothy that all scripture is God breathed. All of it is useful to teach, correct, rebuke and encourage. All of it. These are the red letters. Words of life. Words from Jesus. Every last word of the Bible shines as a message from God. Paul goes on to say that Timothy ministers in a time where people will gather around them those who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear.

Welcome to the 21st Century! This is our age also. Since the beginning of time people have gathered around them those who tell them what they want to hear. Ego ergo Sum. It's all about me. Since the serpent decieved Eve we've not stopped.

And when someone comes along going against the grain they are marched out of court. The Old Testament recounts the tales of the prophets. Messengers from God who spoke of judgement and of the hope of salvation for sinners. The prophets were killed. Finally, God sent his Son, and they killed him to. And the apostles. And generations of Christian martyrs.

Today we again fall prey to the temptation to massage our egos. We shape our messages to be inoffensive. Many are scared to speak of sin lest people get annoyed... more so, lest they walk away. And yet God's gospel - the message about Jesus includes talk of sin. The Bible is unashamed to admit the dark state the world is in. It is in terminal decline.

Some of course will speak of sin but redefined. Sin becomes character weakness. Sin becomes human conflict. Sin becomes pain. Yet Biblical sin is all this and more. Biblical sin is offense against the great majesty of God. It is infinitely wrong. Infinitely offensive. And carries and infinite penalty from an angry God (another part of the red letters we'd often like to omit).

These are God's red letters. These are God's words of life to us. And yet the same red letters not only speak of sin but of it's cure. God does not merely pass judgement on the world, but also provides a saviour. One whose death will carry sin's punishment and count believers righteous. Those who barefacedly scorn God's majesty are made perfect forever.

This message is not popular but it is true. And truth is the mark of gospel teaching, not whether we like it. Tomorrow I stand to preach from John 10, it'd be a crying shame if people liked what I said. It's be a mark of my faithfulness to the truth if it said the things our sinful nature hates. A mark of faithfulness is Jesus shines gloriously from what is said. And it'd be a mark of God's work if repentance was granted, and so then the gospel accepted. All of it.

See also Jesus' words in red.