No More Fine Print, Or God Doesn’t Mind Sinners

Sometimes when we let a tattooed singer songwriter on stage at church he’ll utter a nervous joke about being surprised God is letting him on stage without striking him down.

Though it’s a joke, it raises something – this idea that God only likes the good boys and girls. That people with problems and faults and any kind of dirty past should serve, they need to clean up their act before they’re any good.

But I think God likes sinners. He loves them.

This doesn’t seem revolutionary, but I think we need to stop adding an asterisk, a foot note, a caveat that God loves sinners but he is redeeming them and doesn’t want them to stay the same. As true as it might be I think we just need to accept that God loves dirty rotten people even if they never change.

I’m sure this will come across wrong but I think the Romans Road explanation of the gospel does some harm here. It say that we are sinners and God cannot tolerate even the tiniest amount of sin, thus he had to send Jesus. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I think that how we phrase it sounds like God finds us despicable and it makes it sound like God gets the heebie jeebies from sinners. Well, Jesus didn’t seem to mind as much.

So sinner, play your guitar for us. God will not strike you down. I though we left that idea behind 2000 years ago.

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7 Responses to No More Fine Print, Or God Doesn’t Mind Sinners

  1. Bernard Shuford says:

    Funny story.

    There was these two people, a man and a wife. They sold some property and gave all the money they got from it to the church.

    Except for the part they kept.

    But they kept up the appearance of the idea that they had given it all. People thought they were great, you know, for giving so selflessly.

    They died. The guy that wrote the book was distinctively convinced that they died because they lied.

    Ouch. I guess that’s not so darn funny, after all.

    I’m also not too darn sure how that applies to modern life. Every day, people do things that we consider to be much worse. There are Nazi war criminals who lived long lives after doing terrible things to God’s chosen people. Wow. Yet, these two died really quickly, I mean, like, immediately, just for not telling the truth. To me, it begs the question loudly – were these two Christians? Were they, in our modern vernacular, “saved”? Why does this not make sense? Is there a special standard required when we “stand” in front of a church, as a minister or as a musician, and is the terror that I sometimes feel because everything in my life is not perfect (often rather screwed up…) but yet I stand before a group of Christians that calls themselves Crossroads Missionary Baptist Church and give the impression that I am a “good Christian”…

    Yeah, we’re all sinners. I know that way too often, we try to hide that. We are all doomed without the grace of God and the blood of Christ. I’m not really sure why, to be honest, because it seemed dualistic of God that he is the one who made the rules and then he made us have the inborn nature to rebel against him and his rules. And if he didn’t do that, it’s hard for me to understand how he’s “in control of ALL things.” These are hard questions.

    No, my sin is not any less egregious than the tattooed musician. My anger, my often vile speech, my laziness, my lack of love – those are no less offensive to God.

    But they are less offensive to man. When we stand before people to speak or play, our testimony does come into play. What are the values we promote? What message are we telling those people? Are we promoting a lifestyle that God is opposed to? Are we building up their faith, or are we destroying it because we, whether it’s tattoos or some other controversial issue, push against the grain just because there is grace?

    Why did those two people die?

    “God will not strike you down. I though we left that idea behind 2000 years ago.” I get your point, but I challenge your reasoning, largely based on the fact that it has been LESS than 2000 years since those two people died.

    Hmmmm.

  2. Darius says:

    That was the story that first came to my mind, Bernard. Well put.

    Jesus loves sinners, but He can’t stand blemishes in His Bride. He will root them out one way or another.

  3. David says:

    I think I am with the others. It sounds like we are looking for a way to look like everyone else, and be like Jesus. God loves all of mankind. Point. God hates sin – you can check it out here: Psalm 119:104.

    I despise the “we are saved mentality, but live like hell.” Grace is not a license to do what we damn well please. In fact the recognition of the eternal gift should have us eternally enamored with Him. If it doesn’t, something is suspect.

    Your story about tattoos in church and God striking us down seems to point to a person looking over their shoulder. Look we all mess up, but some people are just fine with sinning as if God would never notice. It happens all the time. That doesn’t mean that sin has no consequences.

  4. Bernard Shuford says:

    “Grace is not a license to do what we damn well please.”

    There’s deep irony in that statement….

    As to tattoos, that issue is not one I’m gonna climb up on a hill about and die. I think there are legit reasons to conclude that the only “Bible” we have about them is aimed at Israelites in a particular culture and that they are not specifically sinful today, just as there are genuine reasons to conclude that drinking beer is not inherently sinful. Likewise, words are just words, and the “cursing” is in the heart rather than on the tongue, so yeah, we sometimes care more about the preacher saying “shit” than we do about the fact that millions are starving to death in our world. (Tony Campolo…)

    My point is not tattoos, or grungy musicians with dreadlocks, or female worship leaders showing cleavage.

    My point is that somewhere along the way God gets pissed. I don’t personally claim to know where that point is, but there are voices in Christianity screaming that we don’t understand grace – and MOST of those people give off the appearance of doing more and more things that Christians have basically understood to not be God’s will for his people. If it takes “grace” to cover tattoos, maybe that oughtta give us a clue? Alcohol? Skimpy clothes? Tight jeans with no underwear? Use of the f word in sermons? If it takes grace to cover it, maybe we oughtta be aware that we’re abusing grace? And if we’re abusing grace, are we ignoring conviction, or is there something wrong with the Bible? Because, yeah, it says to not do that.

    So, if those things are not sinful, fine. But don’t use those things to prove grace. Because, if they require grace, Christians need to wise up.

    Struck dead? No, I haven’t seen it. Ever. Hope I never do. But if I’m going to claim to believe in God and follow Jesus, I think I need to be wise about how I present him. He died to forgive my sins – accidental ones and intentional ones. I believe that. But is there a price to pay for those who mock his death by continually piling on their sin?

    No dogma from me. Just questions because you’ve got me thinking.

    • David says:

      Good stuff! It is not so much what we do that irks me, but the reasons we give for doing it. If the Bible is clear, those things are off the list. Then there is the stuff we do that causes others to sin, and the things we don’t do that are sin when we are remiss… I ma not looking for a bolts of lightening, but I am well aware that I have fallen short. By grace I get up and go for it again!

  5. Larry Hughes says:

    We are not in a position to judge others for their inperfections ( tattos, etc.) I think Jesus takes care of that at the kingdom’s entrance with the statement about new bodies..

    As it is stated in Romans from my memory, We are forgiven for our sins if we accept Jesus in our lives and resist the temptation to continue sinning. I don’t think we will still be in God’s grace if we continue with our old ways after accepting Jesus as our savoiur. I think Paul mentioned that in one of his letters to a particular group.

  6. theoldadam says:

    Actually, there is nothing in the new Testament about accepting Jesus into our heart.

    And St. Paul in Romans 7 tells us how he keeps sinning even though he knows he shouldn’t.

    The fact of the matter is that we ARE sinners, but that Christ loves and justifies the ungodly.

    Simul eustes et peccator drove the Roman Catholic Church nuts during the Reformation and it STILL drives them and many Evangelicals nuts today.

    We are at the SAME TIME fully justified…and fully sinful.

    The Lord will bring to completion that which He started in us. Romans 6 talks about how He does it.

    Great topic, Charlie.

    Thanks.

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