Once again before us we have a wonderful opportunity to learn what is wrong with the gospel in America. As the pictures of Bruce Jenner adorn everything after his sex-mutilation operation, people are rushing in to either condemn him for being a sinner, or pour out their view of the love of God upon him. One blogger put it this way:
The real scandal worth discussing is that of a Gracious God who would come and die and live again so that He could make a way for broken sinners like us to be with Him while teaching everyone that redemption has so little to do with us and everything to do with Him.
And that isn’t just in the Bible. It is the summation of all of Scripture.
So, before the Internet gets going… before the whole world starts talking and there are harsh words and angry debates and Christians who look like we carry around pockets full of stones, let’s remember this:
No matter what the cover of a magazine tells us to call a person, first…
We must call one another Loved.
I’m not so sure this is true, especially given that the author does not express what this “love” is. This is a sad tactic of many when it comes to such a debate concerning public figures living out their lives with sinful natures. Someone points out that nature, and others immediately counter with the L-word, and we know that once the L-word is thrown out there, anyone else who dares to comment on the situation is clearly un-L-wording… Just by throwing out the L-word, truth is stymied and the gospel stands askew once again. The question we need to ask: Would Jesus just throw His arms open wide and give ol’ Bruce a big hug and welcome him into the kingdom?
Well, look at the evidence. Did he ever hug the woman at the well? Nope. He pointed out her sin to her. He made it very clear to her that she WAS a sinner and needed to repent of that sin. She even tried to change the topic and Christ came right back at her with her sin. Proponents of the L-word rarely do this. They just talk about how much God loves the sinner. But most sinners don’t have the biblical knowledge that the woman at the well had.
She had the benefit of knowing that God actually has a wrathful side to Him, and is perfectly just and right in sending sinners to hell. Her view of God was skewed, but not so much that He became this lovey-dovey cream puff in the sky that so many evangelicals hold onto.
Bruce does not need to know that God loves him. He probably already assumes as much if he has any views of God at all. Otherwise, he would not have committed this sinful act on his own body. What Bruce needs is the fear of God. He needs to know more than ever that there is a Holy God waiting at the end of time for him, and this Holy God will judge him based upon the LAW. Because of this reality, only then will he see his own need to repent and trust in the Savior who is. But even then, this will only happen if the Spirit moves in Bruce’s cold, stoney heart first. So while the author of the post above is concerned about people throwing around the “S-word,” I think the greater problem among evangelicals are those throwing around the “L-word” without the benefit of showing why Christ’s act of atonement is actually loving on the part of God. You cannot do this apart from the truly-needed “L-word,” the Law. It is only in view of the Law that we actually see how sinful we truly are. Paul writes about this in Romans 7:7, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
If we are going to share the gospel with people like Bruce Jenner, we cannot do so apart from the Law of God, for it is only in view of God’s Law, His wrath upon us for breaking that Law, and our impending doom for our sinfulness against a holy God, that we begin to see the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice. Otherwise, we come to the gospel with the attitude that God should love us, since we are so lovable. We are not lovable. This is why the statement that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners is so remarkable (Romans 5:8). He died for sinners in whom there was nothing worthy of dying for. If we don’t understand all of this, we get the gospel wrong because we don’t give the full picture of God or ourselves. This is usually what happens in these debates, especially this one concerning Bruce Jenner.