“For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God…” Paul to the Romans, chapter 3, verse 23
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…” John the Apostle, chapter the third, 16th verse.
I read a blog post yesterday that angered me. It pointed to a great problem, a great sin, then it stopped. It offered the reader nothing by way of a solution to the great problem, the great sin. I’d like to begin, sort of, where that post began and then finish that post by adding what was forgotten.
- It is wrong to steal.
- It is wrong to have gay sex.
- It is wrong to lie.
- It is wrong to cheat.
- It is wrong to fornicate.
- It is wrong to commit adultery.
- It is wrong to be racist.
- It is wrong to get drunk.
- It is wrong to be gluttonous.
- It is wrong to murder.
- It is wrong to get an abortion.
- It is wrong to lust.
- It is wrong to lie about the preacher.
- It is wrong to abuse your spouse or children.
- It is wrong to worship idols.
- It is wrong kidnap.
- It is wrong to disobey your parents.
- It is wrong to swindle.
- It is wrong to be greedy.
- It is wrong to rape.
Yes. Yes. I could go on and on and on. The post I have in mind was discussing abortion and it’s offensiveness. I agree with the post I read: Abortion is a heinous, despicable, vile, disgusting offense. Those things mentioned above are wrong too; they are sin. There is no debating this in my mind or in Scripture for that matter.
But abortion is not the unforgivable sin. Never has been. Never will be. In the crazy economy of the kingdom of God, a person could have 490 abortions in one day and repent and God, in his mercy and grace, would forgive that person because of Jesus Christ. I mean, why wouldn’t he since he expects us to do nothing less? I don’t think God expects people to do things that he himself isn’t willing to do. Thus, forgiveness.
Abortion is not an unforgivable sin.
None of the things I mentioned is the or an unforgivable sin.
We have ample evidence in our world of all the things that are wrong with us and all the things we do badly and all the sin we have committed and all the idols we have worshiped and all the judgment we have invited into our lives and all the times we have crucified Christ all over again and again and again…
We have sufficient testimony to all the grievous destruction that our sin has wrought upon this earth.
We have enough people pointing out the sin that plagues the United States of America and Russia and England and Brazil and Antarctica and, well, you get the point.
But Jesus did not tell us to go around moralizing did he? (This is not rhetorical.)
I’m not even sure he told us to go around pointing out sin, although, when the Gospel is properly preached I think that sin will necessarily be a part of the discussion. After all, it is terribly difficult to call folks to repentance if some mention of sin has not happened.
Jesus did tell us to go and preach the good news, the Gospel. (Luke 9:1-2, and 6, among others). We have good news! We are told to preach good news! Why did he tell us to preach good news? Could it be that there are enough others preaching the bad news?
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.–Jesus, as recorded by the evangelist Matthew 11:27-29
I want to find 100,000 ways to say: God forgives you in and because of Jesus Christ. I hate writing this post because some might conclude that I am not opposed to abortion, or that I think there are no consequences to our behavior, but that would be to miss my point. I am very opposed to abortion, but I also realize that people sin, do wrong, make mistakes and have otherwise poor judgment, and that it was the sick, weak, broken, hurting, desperate sinners, like me, like them, that Christ came to save, redeem, ransom, and atone for.
Jesus didn’t come to condemn; why do we think he has assigned us that role?
The author of the post in question did a great job pointing out a great sin, but the problem with the post is simple: While it gave us a great picture of a moralized America where everyone plays in an orchestra or knits flags and worships at the throne of conservative politicians, it did nothing to offer a solution to the real problem of sin. It’s a powerful picture, but it is not necessarily one Christ has drawn. It is a terrible problem, but there was no solution offered. What’s the point of ranting about the problem when there is no solution offered at all?
We didn’t get a picture of the Kingdom of God where forgiveness is free and we receive grace as a man filling a cup under a waterfall.* We got a picture of a moralized America where there is condemnation for every perpetrator, but no hope whatsoever. If an expectant single-mother or a suddenly pregnant husband and wife swimming in debt is debating her/their pregnancy right now and read that post, she/they would be left despairing and hopeless; feeling nothing but condemnation.
The author would have us condemn all who have had abortions and reject them as mere weak Americans who lack courage and are interested only in their bank balance and credit card statements. Christ would welcome them into his kingdom as the very ones he came to save precisely because they are greedy, murderous, and lack the intestinal fortitude to be self-controlled–because they are sinners!
So here I offer what the post in question did not offer: Hope. It’s easy to condemn; much harder to think and believe that God is foolish enough to forgive us rebels just because he can and wants to.
If you have ever had an abortion or over-spent on your credit cards, if you have filed bankruptcy because you have no self-control, if you are a coward, if you are hopeless and think you are running on empty, if you have no where to go and you think you are out of options–there’s hope! There’s grace! There’s forgiveness of your sins! Christ has payed the price for your sins. There’s Good News! Christ has not rejected you. There’s still hope! There’s still a message of peace and forgiveness to you because of Jesus. Christ will take away your guilt. Christ will heal your wounds. Christ will save you from the hopeless, endless cycle of condemnation and death.
You can join us, all us sinners here, all us imperfect, unkempt, undone, depressed, forgiven-by-God sinners here. We welcome you to join in the story that Christ is writing and has written. We welcome you to taste and see that His Grace is Good. We welcome you to be forgiven in the Name of Jesus.
“…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” The same Paul, to the same Romans, chapter 3, verse 24.
“…For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” the same John the Apostle, the same third chapter, the 17th verse.