Remembering Fallenness: Many people remember JFK’s assassination somewhat like many of my generation probably remember the September 11, 2001 attacks—with shock, incredulity, and disbelief. I was in Savannah, GA. Suddenly the secretary, who kept a tiny TV on but muted behind her desk, shouted, “O, my God!” I rose from my chair in the office and walked briskly out to her desk. “What is it?” I asked.
She was staring at the TV. Over and over the commentators appeared to grasp for appropriate words. Donna and I stared at the TV screen. We watched the images of the planes crashing into the towers. We watched the president halt all air travel. The skies suddenly became ominous. I literally looked up at the ceiling in our office, as if I could gaze through the roof into the skies outside. I know it sounds silly, but my thoughts were not rational for a few moments. Visceral fear entered. My thoughts raced regarding those I loved. Where were they? Would our phones work? Where was safe? Were we at war? Was this the end of something? Was it the beginning of something? Who was behind this? What now? The questions multiplied.
The days that followed were fraught with emotion, with bloviating, with courage, with resolve, with love of neighbor, with hatred, with patriotism, with xenophobia, with sacrifice, with bravado, with truth, with lies.
Some pontificated this was God’s judgment on America for her iniquity. Then the predictable responses came: “How dare one say that? Don’t you know America is a city on a hill, a light to the nations?” (For the sake of transparency and clarity, I am an American patriot to my core, but America is assuredly not the gospel.
Receiving Redemption: The gospel is about who God is, what He has done in the person and work of Christ the Son, how we sinners who repent and believe upon Christ’s work are reconciled to holy God. Our sin is imputed to Christ; His righteousness is imputed to us. This is done by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is not sinners meriting righteousness. We are not infused with righteousness. We are clothed in the righteous robes of Christ when we flee to Him in repentance and faith, knowing that we are otherwise justly condemned. But God has done what we never would or could do—reconciled particular sinners through the redemption accomplished and applied by the triune God of Scripture.
2 Corinthians 5:21 puts in plainly: “For our sake he [God the Father] made him [Jesus the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him [Jesus the Son] we might become the righteousness of God.”
Rejoicing in Reconciliation: As I tried to sleep tonight, I could not. I don’t know if it’s all the years in the Army and sleeplessness that seems to come with that, or if it’s the fact that September 11th has been on my mind for days, or whether it’s just the thunderstorm raging outside currently. Regardless, here I sit … writing in the wee hours of the morning.
I see the country’s fallenness like a banner on the news on my computer screen: Americans left to be martyred in Afghanistan; law enforcement officers being fired for not taking mandatory jabs; colleges students being paid to take the jab (what does it say that you have to bribe someone with cash to allow you to put something in his/her body?); Fauci’s latest contradictions; threats of Islamic attacks on this anniversary of September 11th; open borders with flu (coronavirus-infected) illegals pouring into Texas and being bussed to Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Georgia. The list goes on. Fallenness is manifested with each article I read.
But God’s reconciliation is still to be offered. We are to endure. We are to be an enduring people, especially in the midst of the fallenness. Now is not the time to shrink, to retreat, to quit. No. Trust the Lord. Press into Him and His Word. Remember that the Lord is sovereign and His will cannot be defeated: “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
Why does that not amaze us anymore? It should, folks. God’s sovereignty is the believer’s comfort. If God is not sovereign, then your lot is worse than you can possibly imagine. The universe would be an unpiloted chaos–no design, no Designer, and no foundation. But God is sovereign and His grace towards us sinners is amazing. Grace is amazing. Why? Because we don’t deserve any. We deserve judgment.
God calls reconciled sinners to have what the Bible calls a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He then calls believers “ambassadors for Christ” (v. 20). And He calls us to the mission field. To do what? To hold fast the word of life (Philippians 2:16). To appeal to fellow sinners to be reconciled to God through the person and work of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Remembering tonight that we are a fallen race, yes, that is certain. But the gospel is also certain. It is certain that God is redeeming a people for Himself, reconciling sinners to Himself through the person and work of Christ; that the triune God of Scripture is calling people out from darkness into light, and that they will rejoice in the midst so that many may see and say that the Lord is good.