Ever had the experience where you were exposed to something and then began to see it, like everywhere? For example (a personal experience here), you buy a canary-yellow car. All of a sudden, you begin seeing cars with that same color all over the place. This is known as “frequency illusion” or the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.” It’s not that there are more cars with that color on the road all of a sudden, but that your mind learns to notice cars with that color because of being exposed to it.
The same thing has happened to me in the area of how I now understand the true nature of the gospel. Not only have I gone to depths in my understanding of the incredible richness of the gospel, but through being exposed to it in its pure form, I have begun to see many phrases used within Christian circles and teachings found in the church that are just not in harmony with the pure gospel, but rather couched in some way and in some measure in the teaching of the Old Covenant.
That brings me to the title of this blog post. A song I heard this morning, sung by Chris Tomlin, “Your Grace Is Enough,” has this as its second line: “You wrestle with a sinner’s heart.” When I hear this line, a picture of God striving against sin comes to mind. I mean, it’s a wrestling match according to this line, right? And if a wrestling match is still ongoing, no outcome has yet been decided. The picture of God wrestling with or striving against sin is firmly rooted in the Old Covenant; it has no part in the New Covenant.
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God finished the wrestling match with sin. He is no longer striving against sin. Why would He? He’s already won. The position that states that God is still wrestling with sin and a sinner’s heart has at its foundation the truth that victory has not yet been achieved. God calls and draws people to participate in Christ’s death (this is the “being crucified with Christ” part) and then participate in the newness of life through participating in the resurrection. He doesn’t wrestle with people to accomplish this. There is no need for God to strive any longer.
My other issue with this song is this: just who are those whom Chris calls sinners? Part of the chorus pleads with God to “Remember Your people, remember Your children.” I can only deduce a connection between those called sinners and the people/children of God. Once again, this idea is absolutely based in the Old Covenant. Those who are adopted sons and daughters are no longer known by God as sinners; they are known as saints. It doesn’t mean they are perfect, but it does signify that the sin nature, the nature of a sinner, has been killed upon belief and participating in and being crucified with Christ.
So, since those who have believed have become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), if they are still sinners, meaning they still have the sin nature, what is that saying about the character of God’s righteousness? It is absolutely attaching a sin characteristic to it. And I, for one, will absolutely not do that or go there.
Practically every time I come across an instance like this, whether in a song or a phrase commonly used by Christians or some aspect of teaching easily found in the church, I end up shaking my head because I am once again reminded that there are those who still don’t get it. For some reason, they still want to be bound, in some way and to some degree, the Old Covenant.
And I find that to just be crazy.