Wonderstruck, shocked, mortified; three words that can be used to describe the feeling I get when I think about the sheer audacity of man in our approach to worship. Every era, has in some way left it’s imprint on the church, whether it be the Romantic era, the Modern era, or what we now know as the Post-Modern era. However, it is this last era that will perhaps cause greater and longer lasting damage than any other era in history. I shudder to think of what era may come after this; what misconceptions, misunderstandings, or misguided information will our children and grandchildren be faced with regarding the church, but more importantly; the worship a HOLY GOD.
No longer does the church address sin as it was in scripture. Instead we cover it; with grace. Grace is the new blood, it is the new and living way in the church. Grace has become that pure and spotless animal we now sacrifice on the altar of indifference. Instead of worshiping now with clean hands and pure heart, we are worshiping in open sin and rebellion, all the while teaching our children to do the same. We mock God with our sin, taunting Him with it, knowing that as soon as he confronts us; we can pull that ever-loving grace card from our pockets and rub it in His face.
The problem lies in the fact that no longer do we make a distinction between the lost and the saved. This idea of tolerance has led us to extend unending grace to the sinning saint before ever demanding that they repent. Therefore, the average Christian now believes that they are welcome to sin as much as they so choose, so long as they ask God to forgive them, and yet my bible says that God will not be mocked. The truth is every born again believer knows this is wrong, we simply don’t know how to stop. We are grace addicts; sinning more that grace may abound; foolishness. We know the disparity exists when we see a flood of people at the altar asking to re-commit their lives or to be baptized for the 4th time. Something is wrong with the teaching. I have gone back and studied the messages of some of the great teachers of the gospel throughout church history and the common thread I found was a call to repentance. Living in sin; a believer knows something is wrong, the holy spirit tells them. Often times when that is not handled properly and the sinner then told to go to God and ask his forgiveness, but never told to repent, this can lead to frustration, exasperation, and degradation of the sinner. Until months or years later we find them at the altar asking again to be saved.
Then their is the lost; how does the church deal with the lost of our society? We coax them in with some form of entertainment, make all kinds of unrealistic promises, knowing full well that we could never fully know the mind of God and what his purpose is for every professing believer. What are the implication’s of telling a lost soul that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life only to discover that his plan was to show that person how much they must suffer for his name? Then there is the overwhelming condemnation of the lost world lavished upon them by all us well meaning Jesus lovers. I’m not saying that we overlook sin in their case, but the bible says they are condemned already; what business do we have condemning the lost? We are not expected to extend unconditional grace upon anyone lest their be repentance, we are however, expected to have compassion. Jesus himself looked at the multitude and had compassion. Compassion feeds brokenness. If as a church we are lacking in anything it is brokenness, perhaps it is because we are missing compassion.