I don’t think any person who is aware of the world around us would deny the obvious: we are in trouble. Especially for those who follow Christ, we see a world full of sin and dysfunction. We see a world that has rejected God and His ways, and the weakest and most vulnerable are paying a tragic price.
So we all agree the world is a mess. The disagreement begins when we explore what to do about it.
Many in the church think the answer is more law. We find comfort in rules. We find security in the “good old days” when people ostensibly followed the rules and things were good. What the world needs now is a better sense of right and wrong.
This is the option the church has taken for most of its existence. Black plague killing millions? Round up the prostitutes, gamblers and witches and execute them in order to appease God’s wrath. It happens today as well. The gays are ruining our society? Fight political battles to ban, marginalize and stymie their agenda. Fight for the right and condemn the wrong.
I don’t think that’s the way of the Jesus we claim to serve. God already had a religion, Judaism. If society needed reform and more rules, then the Pharisees of Jesus’ day would have been on the right track. They could have healed the human condition by their strict adherence to the law. But they couldn’t. Jesus recognized that and scolded them for thinking they could. It wasn’t Jesus’ goal to reform religion, but by His grace to render it pointless.
No, what the world needs is more grace, not more law. When we truly experience the mystical and overwhelming grace of God, good works cannot be far behind. When God’s immeasurable love takes root in our hearts, we can think of nothing else but good works.
Condoms in schools becomes a moot battle, because kids who really experience Jesus don’t engage in illicit sex. Controlling people’s behavior isn’t necessary, because those who truly experience His grace change the way they live.
Any time we see a lack of good works, it can always be attributed to a lack of God’s grace. Grace doesn’t relieve us from good works, it enables them.
More rules – more law – will never heal a human heart. No political battle will change the heart of a sinner into that of a saint. Compulsion has never created desire and bondage has never created freedom.
Want to change the world? More grace might be a good place to start. That’s where Jesus started.