Heard a good message recently that was marred by someone adding her thoughts to it. The ruinous addition was that we need always to be careful about those things in life that distract us from God or bring us down to a more worldly level.
When I was younger, I would have heartily endorsed that addendum. Now, I see it as a dilution of the Gospel.
One of Paul’s consistent understatements in his books is that the sacred/secular divide is something of a hoax. Yes, the OT is filled with illustrations about what is holy and what is not, but doesn’t Christ’s death redeem ALL of life?
What verse in the Bible is more astute than this one?
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure….
—Titus 1:15a ESV
Nothing destroys the joy of Christ more than dogmatic, persistent sin management. We encounter these semi-tortured folks who burn worry lines into their faces from all the concern over potential sinning. It’s like grace doesn’t even exist. To those people, I recommend reading about Martin Luther’s rediscovery of grace and his own fight against perpetual sin.
Can I have a glass of wine, play a game of Ca$h ‘n’ Gun$ with friends, and read a novel that makes no pretenses at being Christian? Why would anyone have to even ask that question? Yet there are M-A-N-Y Christians out there who struggle with all that. (Why? Because well-meaning Christians in authority positions keep knocking certain actions as sinful when those actions are anything but.)
One of the reasons people don’t want to be Christians is that they don’t want to constantly monitor themselves for “sinful” behavior. You know what? I don’t blame them. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to either. That’s not what being a Christian is about.
Crazier still, the sins that most bother some Christians are the ones the Lord Jesus spent the least amount of time denouncing. He wasn’t so worried about how people dress, what they eat and drink, their leisure activities, and so on. Instead, He was angered by pride, injustice, lack of concern for other people, factionalism, materialism, and the like. Last time I checked, those latter sins were the ones least addressed and most stumbled over by the greater crowd of Christians in North America.
Even if we are guilty of any and all of those sins, let’s deal with them and move on. Let’s not keep wallowing in our own filth and lamenting it. Instead, be glad for grace and live fully.
To the Christian, all of life is holy. And there is joy in that!