To miss God’s forgiving grace as it relates to sin is to miss the redemptive purpose of the Incarnation. Every other grace is a contributing grace to the act of Jesus dying on the cross. To miss that is to miss the Christian faith. The preacher that minimizes or ignores sin doesn’t understand the big truth of the gospel that we can have our sins forgiven–daily and eternally.
- John M. Perkins, Follow Me To Freedom
God hates sin, not just because we are disobedient to the law, but because sin destroys us, and God can’t stand to watch us destroy ourselves.
- Shane Claiborne
John Lennon’s world view called everything but oneself illegitimate, while U2 claims that we’re the ones that have no legitimacy apart from God.
We live in a cross-eyed culture: 9 out of 10 people in our society believe in God, but less than 2 out of 10 believe in an absolute right or wrong. Clearly, we like the idea of God, but we don’t want to accept the reality that would result if that God actually existed. Perhaps then John Lennon’s song “God” serves as a worthy anthem for our postmodern society. Wake up and stop deceiving yourself, sings Lennon in this 1970 song. God is not real. He’s nothing but “a concept.” Since there is no objective reality or absolutes, you can’t believe in anything beyond yourself. John’s inevitable conclusion is “I just believe in me.” A generation later, U2 released “God Part II” [Lyrics] [iTunes] on their Rattle and Hum album. The song serves as a sequel and a believer’s response to the original Lennon song. Politely refuting the Beatles legend, Bono sings that belief in yourself or the world is a sure-fire, dead-end road. Instead, the only thing worth believing in is the love of God.
Tactics from Below
The mindset that is expressed by Lennon in “God” illustrates the self-reliant nature of a world without Jesus Christ. When we dismiss the God of the Bible, we must turn to ourselves for answers. Reality for us becomes limited to what we can see, hear, or touch. The spiritual world is, like Lennon’s view of God, merely a concept. Wishful thinking.
Jesus gained the power to love harlots, bullies, and ruffians… he was able to do this only because he saw through the filth and crust of degeneration, because his eye caught the divine original which is hidden in every way–in every man!… Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that really did not belong to him, something that merely chained and mastered him and from which he would free him and bring him back to his real self. Jesus was able to love men because he loved them right through the layer of mud.
- Helmut Thielicke
But my true brothers are those who rejoice for me in their hearts when they find good in me, and grieve for me when they find sin. They are my true brothers, because whether they see good in me or evil, they love me still.
- Saint Augustine, Confessions