Have you ever sung the hymn, “Love Lifted Me”? When I was an older boy and young teen, my peers and I were not the most “holy” group in the church. So, we would sit in the back, singing “I was sinking deep in sin” and turn to a buddy and say “Wheee!”
We understood sin only as a behavior and had little if any knowledge that sin was a condition of the human heart. We were already deep in sin but thought since we hadn’t had opportunity to commit the big ones we were OK. Cultural changes came so fast “change” almost became a sedative.
I given serious thought to the concept that one reason we love change is that it provides an escape from accountability. When things are changing so fast, or we are causing them to change so fast, there is little time to evaluate whether or not the changes are worthwhile and productive. And one cannot be held accountable without proper measurement.
Do not hear this as a rant against change.
But when we are so focused on the things related to the administration and growth of the church we can easily lose sight of core biblical truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)
Jesus actually said that. No amount of exegetical maneuvering will change that simple statement. It even works in context.
“Know” – intimate knowledge. Not just intellectual awareness, but deep, intimate knowledge. On another occasion Jesus said, “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.” (John 14:6)
We youngsters, steeped in sin and blinded by the error that the essence of sin was badness, were laughing our way to perdition because we had not committed the “biggies”. No amount of self-reform would change us. There had to be deep conviction that what was wrong with us was internal, not external. And only the truth could set us free.
In a similar way, I believe we in the church have spent years cleaning the outside of the cup using our different methods, programs, and emphasis, while the inside has been stained beyond recognition.
I am encouraged by what I hear from the Great Commission Resurgence commission report. It points us to Jesus. Perhaps we as a people called Southern Baptists will be blessed by God with a deep conviction that what is wrong with us is internal, not external. May we return with words in repentance and submission to Him.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!