The Ravages of Foregrounding Culpability

Part 4

In foregrounding culpability, we have dis-incarnated our Lord and his Gospel. Instead of living the Gospel, of living towards the Lord and bringing all things into obedience to him, we have sidelined the Gospel and ourselves, as though we existed outside of time.

We then enter these fanciful discussions concerning the “possibilities of whether so-and-so is saved, or could be saved, should he not hear that good news which if we were not so busy we could lay before him.” It is as though the football team decided to go to the sidelines to discuss strategy, not just for the very short one minute timeout (of which the team has precious few in a real game) but for ten, twenty minutes. But the real judges judge by reality, not by the fanciful dreaming of the team on the sideline. Thus, they march the ball back 5 yards, every 30 seconds. Meanwhile, the team keeps musing on the sidelines.


Jesus is not an idea. He is a Living Word, with two edges. He has brought Good News to a world plunged in meaninglessness. The world does not know why it exists. And if you tell it, “You’re OK. No matter what you do; all will be OK and every manner of thing, despite your own manners of being, will be OK” – If you tell it that, it will not pick up meaning.

In fact, upon reflection, it might think, “What a demonic trick! Why should God place us in this torture chamber, this bath of sorrow, this wearisome life, this precarious cell, if in the end he simply will have everyone ‘Up There’ with him. No. That makes no sense. That is nonsense. What purpose is this time now? Of what purpose?” A very good response to false platitudes concerning the real situation. Indeed, a God who consigned us to this wasteland, without a purpose, and only in the end equally to have us all ‘Up There’ with him would be a very strange God indeed.

But a God who consigned all to this wasteland on account of sin, and for the purpose of disciplining his children so as to woe the straying sheep back to the fold, and into the family of God – well in such a God I can believe! Yes, in a God who would condemn me for my stupidity and malice, for my ingratitude at “waking up” and living life in the grace he offered – in such a God I could believe. For such a God takes me seriously. Takes this life seriously. And yes, he dismisses my sins when I, though torn by sorrow yet uplifted by his merciful arm, cry tears in his bosom and beg for forgiveness. Thus, he takes me seriously in a way that I can bear.

But this lightness of being that floats every soul ‘Up There’ – who can bear it?