Soiled by sin I am a Mark Driscoll, a Bob Coy, a Peter, an Adam, a David. What do I and these men have in common? We are all men created in the Image of God, yet we don’t want to obey and follow him by nature. Adam may have started this sin thing (or maybe it was Satan), but we definitely are keeping up with Adam in his absence. Stained by sin in Adam, we are not just sinners because of his sin, we are sinners because of our own sin too. Yet, I and all these men alike have tasted of the heavenly blessing in Christ, heard the Gospel preached, professed faith, and have responded in obedience to His Word, so why do we still fail? Besides the theologically accurate, “because we still are in sinful bodies” it is also because practically we take the Gospel for granted, ignore the means of Grace that Sanctify us, love the world too much, and ultimately because we don’t have the accountability of the Word being preached to us, by others and ourselves, quite often enough. Other voices and messages often take up the airwaves of communication and distract us from the most important message in the Gospel, yet not all these messages are bad just distractions.
Most recently Mark Driscoll reminds us of the false belief in our Christian Culture: that Pastors are more mature, don’t need to be pastored, don’t need to be shepherded, don’t need accountability, don’t need to be submitted to others who will call them on their sin, and are better serving God when their external fruit is magnificently evident to all. Every pastor (and Christian) should read Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Calling-Confronting-Challenges-Pastoral/dp/1433535823 as he explains many of the reasons why we as Christians fail and why so many pastors struggle with sins in-spite of our placing of them on a pedestal, and the most scary thing is most pastors believe their own press, and the result is the list of men I provided.
David was king and although God provided him an abundance of provision in every material way, he felt he was entitled to another man’s wife and wasn’t satisfied with what God gave him. Seduced by sin and his wife, Adam felt it was better to please Eve and his desire for greatness than to be satisfied in the abundant provision and fellowship of God. Cursing the man who saved him, Peter wept for his failure to place his identity in Christ behind his desire to appear cool to a slave girl. Succumbing to the pleasures of the flesh Bob Coy forgot whom it is who promises eternal life. Believing his own press and looking to his own hand to provide for all his needs, Mark Driscoll failed to place his whole trust in Christ’s provision and believe that the Gospel was important enough to be the center of his own life. Loving this world more than its Creator, you and I sin every day hoping this world will provide for us what Jesus has already provided.
If Mega-Church pastors (the ones we often deem the most successful and greatest of Christians), a Disciple of Christ, the first man who walked with God, and a king considered a man after God’s own heart can all sin in large ways and are easily tempted to betray the provision God has made in the Gospel and seek their own pleasure by their own hand, what hope do we “less well known” Christians have of not following their path or worse?
Daily we all need to have the Gospel preached to us through personal devotion, prayer, and our closest friends or we leave ourselves very vulnerable to the temptation that God doesn’t give us enough and we must get the rest ourselves. The Gospel must be the most important belief we have, and as our most precious possession, it must be guarded, exalted, considered, studied, enjoyed, and shared daily. Right belief in the Gospel frees us to live our lives the way God intended. Not frantically scrambling to gain something we think we need like money, power, or fame, but restfully trusting in the inheritance God promises us in Christ and faithfully acting like a child of God: hardworking, obedient, patient, loving, joyful, and content, in a word: Jesus. The adoption we find in Christ’s Gospel teaches us that we are more like good stewards of God’s wealth, than we are creators of our own.
Although we haven’t seen the end of Mark’s or Bob’s story yet, I am confident their’s will end just like the other’s: restored in Christ. Yet, do not doubt that their sin, although they are still adopted Children of God, will have earthly consequences and they may never have the influence or reach they once did for the Kingdom. This should be a warning to us all, that although we cannot lose our heavenly reward, we can shame God on earth and pay an earthly price for sin that does affect us temporally. Do not be quick to judge others, for it may be true that many of the accusations are accurate, but remember that just because truth is found in one part doesn’t mean all parts are true, slanderers do exist, jealous men who wish to exalt themselves for their own perceived gain. Pray that you too may not fall into temptation.