“The culture says you have an alien problem to be solved by an inner solution. The gospel says you have an inner problem that will be solved only by an alien righteousness.”
Everybody knows something’s not right with the world. Daily headlines of shootings, terrorism, and sex abuse should put that argument to rest. Each of us also knows our own vices and failures.
The problem is that most people not only don’t know where the answer is found, but they are tragically confused about the problem.
According to worldly wisdom, terrorism is not caused by evil hearts and devilish religions, but economic struggles. Genes are blamed for criminal dispositions instead of the individual. Perversions now dictate identity. Individuals create their own truth since personal autonomy is the highest value.
Nothing could be further from the truth of Christianity. In fact, it is a glaring failure of the secular mindset to seek a solution to our problem from its source. A dead man can’t resuscitate himself. Neither can a spiritually dead man bring himself to life (see Ephesians 2:1-10). The solution must come from somewhere—Someone—outside of ourselves.
Jesus Christ knew no sin but became sin for us, so that in Him we can be made right before Almighty God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He provides the antidote to our sickness, the energy that enlivens our dead bodies. His righteousness can be applied to us and transform our sin-bent hearts to follow the law of God (Jeremiah 31:33).
Praise God for the alien righteousness we receive in Christ!
1 Quote comes from “Preaching with the Culture in View” from Preaching the Cross, Together for the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway 2007), p. 81.