R.C. Sproul, Jr:
I have sensed this of late due to the responses I have received in making affirmations along two related but different paths. Persuaded I need to enter more deeply into this reality, I have been posting about my own sin. Here is a tweet from Independence Day- I hold this truth to be self evident, that I, like all men, think myself the equal of God. And so I declare my dependence on His grace. I received much the same push back I receive every time I refer to myself as a sinner. Seems that’s a no-no. Now it may well be that the word “sinner” is only used in the New Testament to describe those outside the faith. Such does not mean, however, that it cannot legitimately also be used this way- Sinner, n, 1. One who sins. It may be important that we remember that we are redeemed, forgiven, but it is likewise important to remember that we need to be redeemed and forgiven. It may be important to remember all that we are in Christ, but it is important as well to remember what we are in ourselves.
What do you not feel like doing today?
You know what I mean. It’s that thing that’s weighing on you, which you know would honor God because it obeys his law of love (John 15:12), or is a work of faith (2 Thessalonians 1:11), or puts “to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). You know it would be good for your soul or body or family or vocation or neighbor or church.
Noah is often presented to us as the first character in the Bible really worthy of emulation. Adam? Sinner. Eve? Sinner. Cain? Big sinner! But Noah? Finally, someone we can set our sights on, someone we can shape our lives after, right? This is why so many Sunday School lessons handle the story of Noah like this: “Remember, you can believe what God says! Just like Noah! You too can stand up to unrighteousness and wickedness in our world like Noah did. Don’t be like the bad people who mocked Noah. Be like Noah.”
I understand why many would read this account in this way. After all, doesn’t the Bible say that Noah “was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9)? Pretty incontrovertible, right?
Not so fast.
Sometimes you find people who are a little hipper than thou who conspicuously eschew the title “Christian.” They would rather we called a “Jesus follower” or a “disciple of Jesus of Nazareth.” There’s no problem in using this biblical language, unless it is to steadfastly avoid other kinds of biblical language. In our day there is a certain casualness about “following” someone. It’s what you do on Twitter. It’s what you do when you settle on a school of thought. You follow Keynes or you follow Hayek. Following is pretty safe. Being called a “Christian,” however, is a little dicier.
Just like the first century.
He looked as if he had accidentally been thrown into the dryer with a load of socks. His clothes were disheveled, his hair was unkempt and his eyes told the story of a man dizzied by life. Then he said it…
“I’m not sure that I’m supposed to be married to my wife”.