Second Coming of the Pharisees

Tonight in the line of the merchandise store
While they were packing up my bags
I saw the pictures of the prophets of the picket signs
Screaming, “God hates fags”

And it feels like the church isn’t anything more
Then the second coming of the Pharisees
Scrubbing each other ’til their tombs are white
They chisel epitaphs of piety

-“Come, Lord Jesus”, Andrew Peterson

So there’s so many good subjects that are brought up by these lyrics. Subjects of hypocrisy and humility; Subjects of purity for Christ and purity through Christ; Subjects of anger and love.

I don’t have time to discuss any of them right now, so I’ll just leave the words to simmer.

Fearless Love

yes, the high religious still will scorn,
Just like that did all that time back,
They’ll say you helped the other side.
They saw you haul that soldier’s pack.
But now how could you carry that man’s sign?
In your heart the choice was clear:
You didn’t join the other side,
The battle lines just disappeared.

-“Fearless Love”, David Wilcox

At our campus in Chapel Hill there is a man the students have affectionately named the “Pit Preacher” (He has his own page on Wikipedia for anyone interested). Gary Birdsong is what most might call a hellfire and brimstone preacher. His main subjects involve judgment for homosexuals, drug users, and promiscuous people. I have to wonder how much his sermons actually reach people. Does a greater than thou position of accusation ever really cause people to recognize sin and desire that it be taken away?

I read my Bible and it seems the only people Jesus ever stood over in accusation were the high religious. Jesus didn’t demand that Zachaeus change his ways, he asked if he could dine at his table.

Sin isn’t something that “they” do and “we” don’t. Being a murderer doesn’t rate worse on the scale than being a homosexual. And at the same time being a homosexual is no worse than selfishly praying to show off my spirituality. We’re all sinners, period. There is no big or small sin. All sinners go to the same place.

The Gospel of Christ is not about the reformation of the sinful nature, it’s about the removal of the sin. When we accept the gift of Christ’s death, at that very moment, our sin is gone. It can no longer be used against us. He took upon himself every sin you ever commited and every time you falter from now on has been paid for as well. The Gospel isn’t a warning to get people to stop sinning because the Bible itself says that is impossible, it’s a joyful announcement that what is impossible has already been accomplished and all we have to do is accept it for ourselves.

But Christ also rose again. The sin was taken to death with Christ on the cross. But the nature of sin can only be dealt with by an indwelling life of Christ in every believer.

Damn there’s so much more to say. I start talking about the Gospel and it seems incomplete if I don’t say it all. Suffice to say that the Christian life is not meant to be a constant striving against sin and immorality. It’s about releasing myself to let Christ live His life in me.

For those of you who’ve never heard David Wilcox, you’ve got to check it out. This man has a gift for writing lyrics that make you really think about what you believe and why you believe it.