This is the second installment of the mini series, “The ‘Beautiful Mess’ of the Church.” Check out Part 1.
I last ended with the idea that if the church hides its mess it hides God. Let’s pursue this further.
It is impossible to understand sin and not understand the grace of God, and you can’t understand God’s grace without understanding sin. It is a two-for-one deal. This isn’t all there is know about the human condition and it is certainly not all there is to God. Consider sin and grace the starting point of the Christian’s journey.
It is all about Jesus.
Sin–we are totally incapable of living out God’s law with perfection (Romans 3:10). Jesus came and lived a perfect life for us (2 Corinthians 5:21;1 Peter 2:22). We are in need of a sacrifice to atone for our rebellion against God (Romans 3:25). Jesus is the sacrificial lamb that took away our sin (John 1:29).
Grace–God planned our salvation. He orchestrated our escape from eternal punishment through his Son, Jesus (Acts 2:23). God can forgive our sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25). As Christians, we boast of God’s grace because it is the only reason we are not dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:8). We are forgiven because of Jesus, redeemed because of Jesus, and covered because of Jesus.
So what does all this have to do with the church?
Jesus is God’s great revelation of Himself to the world, and He is the cornerstone of the church (Ephesians 2:20). Why did Jesus come? Because we are dead in our trespasses and sins, and God wanted to restore us all back to himself. Remember…sin and grace! It is the starting point and basic truth of the Christian church.
Now, forget everything I have just said. Don’t bother with Jesus being the cornerstone. And stop talking about the grace stuff. Instead, take your sin and hide it. Put on the fake smiles and dress your children in pretty clothes. Make sure you have a good cover story for why your husband isn’t with you when you get there. When asked about your week, leave the part out where you drank yourself into sleep four-out-of-seven nights. Don’t talk about your 19 year old who is in jail for the second time this year. He’ll bring shame to your family. And please, please don’t talk about the voices in your head. You would freak everybody out. This isn’t a loony house you know.
With Jesus hidden, this is what the church becomes.