In my last post, here, I deduced that one of the reasons why the church is impotent today is faithlessness and I would like to extend my apologies to those who were rightly affronted by that, then I would like to recant the strength of that word choice just slightly. So, first, my sincere apologies.
It is unfair of me to blanket the church with the term faithless. This certainly is not a true estimate of the church in America. There are many faithful Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Reformed and other church folk out there to be sure. I also believe that there are many brothers and sisters who will see the Lord when they die, which means they are not faithless. So, let me nuance my meaning.
The faith of Christians in America, generally speaking, seems to be a bifurcated faith. We are very good at holding onto the promises of forgiveness of sins, and rightly we should. This is indeed a great promise. We are very good at looking to the cross for the redemption of our souls. Amen.
Too many churches are stuck right there, however. We only believe half the glory of the Gospel. Sometimes I would like to take the cross down from my sanctuary and paint a giant mural of the empty tomb, so Christians remember the victory.
The promise of the Gospel is certainly the forgiveness of sins, but the added glory to that is that this forgiveness of sins is for a new humanity, a new creation, a people who have come out of the grave with Christ to live new lives transforming the world for the glory of Jesus.
We are good at believing this: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
We are not so good at cleaving to this: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:22-25).
So, when I mentioned that the impotence of the church in America is due to faithlessness, I should have said it is due to a lack of fullness in our faith. We have a truncated faith, a bifurcated faith, a faith that is all cross and no empty tomb. The Gospel is the victory of Christ over sin, death, and the devil for the purpose of bringing about His new creation, so that at the appointed time Jesus can give to the Father the Kingdom He has built on earth. Then, and only then, will Jesus destroy death.