The way it should be

I will return to the regularly scheduled soteriology series shortly, but there’s something else brewing in my bones. It’s the question and struggle of what to do with the contrast, the dichotomy, between the way it is and the way it should be. We see it around us every day. Sometimes we ignore it, push it down, suppress it. Sometimes we get angry about it. Sometimes, we are even driven to action. I was confronted by a street preacher not too long ago. The beautiful thing about what he was doing was that he saw the “what is” and decided it wasn’t what it should be. He picked up a Bible, hit the streets, and confronted the brokenness.

I see things in my own heart and life that aren’t what they should be. I see things around me that are one thing, but should be another. I see heartache all around me, I see the poor neglected, church made into a show, lies used as currency, and hedonism our culture’s chief pursuit. Money is a god, arenas and stadiums our temples, and still brokenness is in every home and heart. What I’m saying is everything is broken, and everyone is sinful, and how we deal with both of those things and God is often times equally broken. I’m saying sin broke us.

If the “what is” is due to our sin, then the “what it should be” is brought about by repentance and faith. Our usual strategy is to try our best to try our best, but it never seems to be enough. What we should do is have faith in what Jesus has already done. Jesus offers us a way to clean up the mess. Paul wrote about something like this in Romans 10. He said:

the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. (Romans 10:1-3)

Doesn’t that sound like us sometimes? Maybe we don’t cling to OT law as our way of fixing stuff, but don’t we try to get right with God in our own way and doesn’t that result in the way things are? Verse four gives us relief, “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.”

We have a way to turn things around, to make the way it is into the way it should be. The Gospel. It tells us the story about the Creator literally stepping into His creation in an incredible display of humility and selflessness and love so that we can be redeemed, so that all of creation will be redeemed. This is elementary stuff, but the more I study God’s Word, the more beautiful these elementary concepts are, like a jewel beautifully refracting light in different ways as it’s turned. Don’t overlook the obvious or fail to see the beauty in the stories we’ve all heard a hundred times. The Gospel is a jewel, keep studying it and it tells us of love and compassion and truth that heals all the brokenness of the world. It tells of the Creator King making one-time enemies of God adopted sons and daughters and citizens of the Kingdom.

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