In my past few posts I have talked about the idea of abomination, and the fact that good people are abominations to the wicked, and wicked ways are abominations to the righteous. Then we dug into scripture for the whole lists of abomination, and it turns out that this isn’t just a problem for the obvious ones (homosexual activity, false religion, and injustice are the favorite thumping ground on the right, and the left tends to beat their drums about an entirely different definition of injustice, money, and nature) that we hear about every day. It turns out that we are all guilty of abomination.
Sure, that is helpful both to drive us to humility before the cross, and hopefully it will help us to deal with those on opposite theological or political sides with a bit more grace, but that isn’t enough.
But what do we do about the fact that God’s Word reveals to us that we are, ourselves, abominable, unclean, disgusting in an absolute moral sense. None of us, not one of us, measure up to God’s standards, and his are the only standards that ultimately count.
For the final God Thought on this topic I want to offer you the hope and solution that St. Paul reveals. Now, writing in Koine Greek he does not repeat the Hebrew word for abomination, but if you remember the list from the last post you will see the highlights here.
To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud — even your own brothers!
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
-1 Corinthians 6:7-11
So what is God’s answer to the fact that we are unclean, disgusting, and idolatrous (the meanings of abomination)? His answer is his grace and love. We have been washed clean in the waters of baptism. We have been made new, forgiven, adopted, and immortal because Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that we could not manage. Then the only person who didn’t deserve death took the death we earned with our abominations. Because he was both man (and could die) and God (was infinite) his one death paid for everyone, in every time and place. Then he rose again, conquering death itself so that we could join him as family now and live with him in heaven forever.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. -Jesus speaking in John 3:16-21
Right. I got it. We are supposed to believe and do what is true. But how can we tell what it means to do what is true?
I would submit to you that we first need to speak what is true. Remember those abominations on the list for approving evil or condemning good? And where do we tell what evil and good are? God has taken pity on us and told us in his word, the Holy Bible.
But what about doing what is true? How the heck can we do that?
I’m going to go into that in greater detail tomorrow, but here is the teaser trailer for now:
And behold a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He aid to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” -Luke 10:25-28