I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the nature of modern Christianity. I spent part of yesterday taking my mind off my petty problems by debating the nature of Christian response to abortion with various people. I realised that the core themes of that debate were LAW versus GRACE. That sounds a lot like the paralel and duelling themes in the modern church. Do we demand the right of the Law or do we extend the hand of grace?
I grew up in a house of lawyers--both existant and nascent. I learned how to argue, discuss and speak. I learned to honour the Rule of Law as the force by which all men remain free from earthly tyranny and to honour the Gift of Grace as it frees us from eternal tyranny.
It's starting to seem to me, though, that many of us Christians who've been in the life for a long time start to confuse ourselves with God. In one forum of this lenghty debate my opponant asked me a good question.
Where is the righteous anger?
I've been thinking about it. A lot. I'm starting to wonder if we as Christians have overclaimed our access to Righteous Anger.
Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.Romans 10:4
The rest of that passage in Romans talks about righteousness through faith. To my thinking any righteousness to which we can lay claim is ours through faith in the saving grace of Christ. So we have no righteousness apart from God.
Since our righteousness is ours solely through Grace, it would seem to me hypocritical to claim that gracious righteousness as a cudgel with which we condemn others. It seems like the Christian version of 'I've got mine, so screw you'. Is it right to whitewash our human anger in a cloak of righteousness? Or is it hubris?
I know that the song says we are joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, but frankly I don't believe that being Joint Heirs with Jesus gives us the right to assume God's role of excercising condemnation on man. I think that's what Christ was trying to tell us with the parable of the unforgiving servant. We've been ourselves forgiven of a great debt. Is it our role, then, to assess the debts of others and levy a price? I don't think so.
I'm still mulling all this over, and probably will be for a few days. It's a matter that takes some thought, I think.