(Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from the late Dr. Neihof's last book which you can order HERE)
The morning headlines screamed. The United States Senator from California had some dirt on the 50-something Supreme Court nominee. The dirt dated back to high school.
Yes. High school.
Television moguls, Hollywood producers, actors, politicians, preachers, and now judges find themselves in the crosshairs of exposure.
On the one hand, the frequent unmasking of sins from one’s past is predicted in the Holy Bible: “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). What is done in private often becomes fodder for public consumption, especially if the behavior is wrong. On the other hand, such allegations and exposure are the norms in the “gotcha” culture of blame and recrimination in the postmodern United States of America.
A person’s guilt or innocence in such events is often unclear. The news cycle moves so rapidly that Truth is lost in the blur. Time is lost in the blur. Linearity is lost in the blur. But the public perception of the guilt or innocence of the latest evangelical scandal is not my point. I am addressing a much larger issue. Redemption.
So, what is going on? Why does our culture gasp over a Supreme Court nominees’ high school behavior? How does his youthful sin matter more than your high school transgression, or mine?
All sin matters because sin causes separation from God and other humans. Scripture teaches that sin causes death. Spiritual death. Physical death. Relational death. In the face of death, a Savior must be found. Sin must be atoned for. Genuine confession and repentance must take place. Redemption must be sought and found. The reality of redemption is made possible only through God made flesh, Jesus, the “Lamb of God,” who gave his life for the sins of the whole world. Sin matters. Sin cost Jesus Christ His life.
Our culture does not see sin as the thing that separates humanity from God because it doesn’t see a God from whom to be separated. Instead, sin is defined as power in the wrong hands. And the antidote isn’t redemption. It’s revolution.
In the current secular social justice revolution, no member of the bourgeois escapes the postmodern, politically-correct sword of judgment and character assassination. The power-wielding are labeled corrupt simply because they wield power, whether elected, conferred, or earned. The powerful are beyond redemption simply because they are powerful. The proletariat must overthrow them through revolution.
The modern is increasingly comfortable with “There is no God. There is no Redeemer. There is no Savior. There is only corrupt bourgeois power, and it must be overthrown. Power to the people.”
How different the situation is with people who possess the hopeful optimism of a living faith in a living Lord. We believe in the potential of God’s grace to transform a person.
Faith abandons the hopeless edict, “People never change,” in favor of the optimism of transformation through the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because we have a Redeemer. We have a living Savior. And we believe in the power of His grace to transform humanity from sin to holiness, from wickedness to righteousness, from worthlessness to worth. We have witnessed this miraculous transformation in ourselves and in others.
We testify to believing that no one is beyond redemption because we have a Redeemer who died on a cross and was raised to eternal life on the third day. We affirm that He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of His Father, the Lord of the Universe. His name is Jesus Christ, and He is praying for your transformation and for mine.
People can change because God can change them.
But people of faith are not immune to the insidious pessimism of the revolutionaries. Instead of praying for people in authority, we all too often view them as beyond redemption. We justify hatred and damnation of political and moral foes. Rather than praying for an opponent’s salvation, we embrace the immoral pessimism of our age. Rather than believing in God’s power to transform, we surrender the sword of the Spirit for worldly weapons and pronounce damnation upon all who defy our crusade for righteousness.
Our collective default to relativistic terms of "Whose sins are worse?" only compromises our ability as Christians to respond to sin, our own and those of others, with a truly redemptive message of hope and transformation. If we Christians respond to the progressives’ game of "gotcha" in kind, we engage a godless response devoid of redeeming grace.
There is no double-standard in God’s Word. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have sinned. The ubiquitous “they” have sinned. You are not beyond redemption. “They” are not beyond redemption. No one is. The optimism of believing in redemption makes us different.
The voracious and destructive appetite of the neo-Marxist social justice movement will remain unsatisfied until every powerful person is deconstructed, dethroned, and demoted. Public service is deconstructed. Corporations are destroyed. Clergymen and women are defrocked. Families are divorced. Christian marriage is neutered and replaced with sterility.
But hatred spans the spectrum. Especially toward people we dislike. Evil resides both in the religious and the revolutionary. The hypocrisy of hate clinging to a professing Christian and the passion for revolution shrouding the neo-Marxist determines a dark pathway devoid of hope or redemption.
Saint John wrote:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (I John 1:8-2:2).
Are your sins under the blood of Jesus? Childhood sins, high school sins, adult sins. You must confess and repent in faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. He forgives. He redeems. He fills us with perfect love that makes it possible for us to love even the unlovely. He empowers all who believe on His name to walk before Him in holiness and righteousness. No one is beyond redemption.