I got distracted this morning by an example in death. A couple died while in Kenya doing short term missionary work — they were part of a party of mostly high school students who were repairing mission buildings. Sent from their church in New Zealand, they died in Kenya. In thinking about this, it is worth contrasting it with the Oz’s report from his church of a lesbian caught screwing a parishioner.
I accept that the young woman who died had a deep and abiding faith. I;m less sure about the liberal pastrix. But is is worthwhile considering that the couple had ten children (who are now orphaned) and I’m pretty sure the pastrix has none (or one or two, if she came to sapphism late in life).
In this, and in many things, the liberal church follows the worldly. They accept the slow dying of our civilization — they neither have children nor condemn the killing of innocents at both ends of life (their rites are abortion and euthanasia) in the hope that they will have comfort, a high value of themselves (AKA self esteem) and ‘grow spiritually’.
They forget that self esteem is a delusion, and godly shame is of great value.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
13Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
15And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples — for there were many who followed him. 16When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Now I want you to consider two recent posts. One is Lance Armstrong’s ritual confession (bingo chart). (Let us praise God that the English still do irony). Lance is trying to get himself forgiven by the great US public, and Oprah runs a public religion of self esteem out of her Television show.
But Psalm 51 is not about self esteem. It is about penitence. Sunshine Mary (SSM) gives an example this morning.
Your husband would like to feel that you are actually attracted to and aroused by him. Therefore, you will need to increase your attraction to him, and here is why. It is not for your satisfaction and fulfillment, it is for his. I say this in love, but understand that you are a whore and you deserve to be dragged to the city gates, stoned to death, and cast into hell. But Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt that you owe, and now that you are in Him, you are no longer condemned to be cast into hell. Your man was willing to take you into his home and give you his name. You are blessed to have him and you will now set aside your lusting after personal happiness and instead seek to obey the Lord by pleasing your husband. You will please him by being sexually attracted to him.
You must behave as if he were far above you on the sexual attractiveness scale, and this is not to be about his looks. This will be an attempt to recalibrate what you find sexually attractive, and you must do these things while beseeching our gracious Heavenly Father to rewire your brain so as to remove or reduce the effects of sleeping with other, more alpha men so that you may please your husband by becoming sexually attracted to him
We all deserve to be damned.
All of us. Now, what has happened in the American church is that we have forgotten this. We have been infected by the memes of Oprah, and we think that we cannot be harsh. Because the truth is harsh. SSM was asked to write to herself if she had acted as most women in the USA do.
It’s ugly, and it’s harsh. It’s also true.
But consider the second passage for a second. Jesus did not stop himself from talking to a quisling, a traitor, a bureaucrat oppressing the people. He went and had dinner with the local collaborators. Because he was sent to save sinners, the lost.
Because he was sent to save us.
Not because we are perfect, but because, even fallen and broken, we can do good in his name. The light of the world does not flow through those who think they are perfect, those who put on the facade of perfection, but through the cracks and flaws, the pain in life, and through penitence.
Self esteem is a delusion that will keep us from the gospel. Shun in. Godly sorrow, however, leads to reformation, and that leads not to death, but life. Because our live, like any power wr have, only grows when we freely and joyously give it to others and, in doing this, to Christ.