This is what the Lord Almighty says: “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6
If we genuinely care for others and sincerely desire healing for them, we will take their sin wounds seriously. And not only will we take their wounds seriously, we'll also take our treatment of those wounds seriously. Concerned about the introduction of infection, we'll give great care to ensure our gospel message of grace is as pure and untainted as possible. If we genuinely care about others, we'll be committed to a sound theological positioning. We'll be committed to strong biblical thinking, solid teaching, and wise counsel that exalts Christ and upholds the power of gospel grace.
If we genuinely love others and think of them as more significant than ourselves, the last thing we'll want to do is offer a message that's infected with greed, selfish ambition, or any craving for acceptance. We'll desire healing enough to offer a pure message of hope that doesn't come with any false promise of peace or any false promise of prosperity. We'll desire healing enough to offer a message that isn't tainted with us.
When we take the sin wounds of others seriously, we'll care enough to ask God for wisdom to assess their condition rightly. Relying on grace to remain undistracted by selfish motivation, we'll see that their injuries are too deep for them to cure themselves. We'll see that they need a message of healing that is greater than their potential to fulfill legalistic demand, greater than their propensity to favor their flesh, and greater than their power to fuel positive thinking. Humbly acknowledging that we share the same brokenness, we'll see that our need is their need--a need for hope not found within themselves.
Because we are all susceptible to unsound doctrine, we can't afford to take our stance lightly. Apart from grace, we all have enough greed within our hearts to buy a message (even if in small measure) that fans our ego, fuels our pride, and fills our pockets. And we certainly all have enough greed to buy a message that favors our flesh. There isn't one of us who isn't capable of this straying. Proverbs 23:23 has something to say about this, a message that flashes with the warning BUYER BEWARE!
"Buy the truth and DO NOT SELL IT-- buy wisdom, instruction and insight as well." (Prov 23:23)
Part of buying truth is living with the awareness that there can be temptation to sell it. Buying truth along with wisdom, instruction and insight is a grace-empowered exercise of intention. And it's not just buying truth, it's holding fast to it. It's firmly planting a NOT FOR SALE sign in its front yard. When a confessing fellow-believer succumbs to theological weakness or error, we demonstrate we don't understand this potential to stray when we lobby arrogant and condescending attacks. That's not a call for silence, it's a call for humility that has our words, even when rightfully bold or forceful, underscoring our own heart's condition. Even when needfully identifying a false teacher, it's a call for humility that has us acknowledging our own blindness apart from the Sovereign opening of our eyes.
We are living in a culture that has been saturated with a moralistic therapeutic deism that has become more spiritually sophisticated with time. Its grave danger is its cloning of elements of Christianity that make it appear authentic. It speaks of warm spirituality over cold religion. It speaks of God and of a Jesus worth emulating. It promotes love and kindness, and it promises prosperity and peace. But it's not the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Cross. It's not a message that identifies our hopeless sin condition apart from a Savior. It's a message that doesn't come with lasting peace, and it doesn't come with eternal healing. It's a message that doesn't take our sin wound seriously.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. " (II Tim 4:3)
It's important that we pray for discernment to know when a message of peace is infected by human greed and personal ambition instead of purified by divine love. No matter how spiritually connected or comforted it may make us feel, our sin wounds run too deep to be reached by any superficial musings of self-awareness, contemplations of personal sacrifice, or any adherences to moral law. We need a Redeemer. We need the Cross. God is holy and tolerates no sin in His presence, and we need a Rescuer to save us from the wrath He pours out on that sin. We need a Savior to be our Righteousness.
And the gloriously Good News is that we have that Savior, and His name is Jesus! Our salvation is found in Christ alone, and in Christ alone we go boldly before the Father and bow before His throne of grace. In Christ alone we go boldly before our Father Who calls us His Child because of the righteousness of His Son becoming our own. In Christ alone we find peace. In Christ alone our hope is found.
By God's grace, this is the truth I'm buying, and the truth I'm never selling.
May the Lord help us to take the wounds of each other seriously.