I’ve recently been reading a book titled: Broken. The subtitle of this book is: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible. It was written by Jonathan Fisk and published by Concordia Publishing House.
The second chapter of this book deals with the issue of moralism. This resonated with me because I’ve become convinced, in recent years, that a majority of our teaching in the church is nothing more than that. It’s become nothing more than a system of laws, a system of right and wrong.
As a result, our faith has become a system of making good people. It’s become a system of doing good things. And, in this way, the message of the gospel becomes lost.
Moralism is defined as the belief that access to God can be achieved through our own personal efforts or attempts to improve ourselves. And, as Fisk rightly points out, moralism is nothing more than the worship of our own works. It’s a dependence upon ourselves and our own efforts to attain salvation.
Please don’t misunderstand me. We do have to deal with issues of morality in the church. God has given to us his Law that we might see our sin and our need for a Savior. And, if we fail to understand our sin, we’ll never understand our need for Jesus or receive the grace offered to us by God. He’s also given to us his Law that we might know how he desires for us to live as his people.
However, we have to realize that our faith is more than just a system of good morals. We must realize this because we are a sinful people, incapable of living up to God’s standards. And we must not begin to think that, if we only try harder, or if we can only fix ourselves, we’ll be acceptable to God.
When this becomes our version of Christianity, we’re lost. As Paul tells us in Galatians 3:10, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse…” If we are trusting in the Law for salvation, if we’re trusting in our efforts to attain the forgiveness of sins, we stand condemned.
We must take to heart the message of the gospel. We must trust in the message of Christ, and what he’s done for us. We must believe that the Son of God became man, that he might give his life on our behalf. We must know that he died on the cross, paying the penalty of our sin. We must understand that, through faith in him, we can receive the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. And we must proclaim this message to one another, as well as to the world around us.
Yes, as Christians, it’ll be our desire to serve God. We’ll want nothing more than to turn from our sin and live the life to which he’s called us. Yet we must always realize that our salvation is found not in what we do, but in what Christ has done for us. As we’re told in 1 John 2:2, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”