Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
In an appended comment to Steven Davison's excellent post, I write of the felt need of salvation that drives many to seek a Savior and find one in Jesus Christ; I also describe what I think inhibits such a search. I invite responses. Reclaiming the Christ
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Your response to Steven's post covered a lot of ground, John, and many of the ideas resonated with me. The following one, though, stood out:
You wrote: "Unfortunately, we humans are creatures clever enough, most of the time, to suppress the memory of moral injuries we inflicted on ourselves in the past, which are sins against others that still haunt our consciences; or to excuse them; or to project them onto others, and blame, curse, or scapegoat those others."
That we inflict "moral injuries" on ourselves by sinning against others is an insight that is so easily lost when, as you say, we excuse, project, blame, curse, or scapegoat others. The initial damage can be counteracted by not covering over the fault with any actions on the list but instead hearing the truth spoken from the conscience. We all act selfishly and unjustly at times, but the real spiritual damage done to ourselves is not by the sin itself but in not inwardly owning up to our inclinations or actions, covering them over with a lie.
The truth makes us free; it draws us to the Son and to Life, where there is given strength to overcome all sin. In 1 John 5:16, the apostle makes a distinction between a sin that is "not unto death" and the sin that is "unto death." The latter - the sin unto death - I think is the refusal to hear the reprimand of the light in the conscience, for that is the stopgap power that dispels the darkness, and shows us our painful readiness to receive a saviour. Refusing to see, to hear, the verdict of the light in the conscience is the sin unto death. I think John 3:19 corroborates this.
We should also include that "the Christ" is defined in John's Gospel as the One who guarantees resurrection and eternal life to the believer. That is the kind of salvation the Savior brings:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:25-27).