Lately I have been seeing a lot of memes, t-shirts, etc. that go like this:
“I love Jesus, but I cuss a little”
To be generous in extending grace and giving the benefit of the doubt, I think the message seems to be something like: I’m a Christian, but I am not perfect. That’s something we can all relate to, right? That is a message we can feel proud to get behind and share with our non-believing friends. That is hip humility, and we’re all cool with that!
There is a right way, and a wrong way to be humble about our position as sinners.
Admitting we are sinners is essential to salvation. Recognizing our propensity to sin is crucial to rightly seeing our position before a holy and righteous God. Walking in humility requires us to confess our sinfulness and our utter inability to live a perfectly sinless and holy life. It requires us to rely solely on the righteousness of Jesus.
But there is a difference between being honest about our sinfulness and being flippant about it. Godly remorse and repentance says, “Yes, you are right! I am a sinner, and you don’t even know the half of it!” But it doesn’t stop there. If it stops there, there is a danger of being too casual or even prideful of our sins. Friends, our sins required the suffering and shed blood of Jesus! That is not something to take lightly. Yes, we are forgiven, yes we will still sin sometimes while in these sin-affected bodies of flesh, but that does not mean our sin isn’t serious and grievous. That doesn’t mean that we shrug our shoulders when we sin and say, “eh, Jesus has me covered.” That kind of casual, flippant attitude is an attitude of antinomianism.
Born-again believers who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and have new hearts and new life in Christ readily admit their sinfulness and need of Jesus’ righteousness. But they are not okay with sinning. They do not casually blow off their failures with a sheepish grin and a shrug. They do not haughtily retort when confronted with their sin “yeah, that’s true and you don’t even know the half of it!” True believers admit their sins and sinfulness, yes. They admit their reliance on Jesus work on the cross, yes. But they do so with broken and contrite hearts. They respond when confronted about their sin with “yes, I AM a wretched sinner! You don’t even know how bad I am! It is true! And I need Jesus! I need forgiveness! I repent of that sin. Thank you for loving me by confronting me with it.” See the difference?
Wearing a t-shirt that claims your love for Jesus and parades your sin of foul language is not Christ-like humility; it’s worldliness. It might seem like a hip way to let non-believers know that Christians are cool: “See? you can love Jesus and not be a loser!” Friend, if that is where you’ve been on this issue, it’s time to grow up in Christ.
As those who have been raised to new life, we are to run hard after holiness. Relavent to the topic at hand is Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” 1 Peter 1:16 says “because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” And the Apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) As those who have been regenerated, we have been given new hearts and new desires (Ezekiel 36:26), and as such we are to:
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4)
In none of the verses above, or scripture as a whole, does it say that we are to love Jesus and stay comfortable in our old sinful ways. We are to be imitators of Christ, holy, renewing our minds through the Word and putting on the new self. Those principles and commands are at odds with a t-shirt or mentality that says “I love Jesus but I cuss a little.” That is not the abundant life that Jesus has called us to.
Do we stand, admitting our sinfulness and need of the Savior that we love? Yes. But we do that having counted the cost, picking up our cross and following after Him. We forsake a love of the world and fear of man; holy vessels set apart for His use. Demonstrating His transforming power by forsaking those sins that required His sacrifice.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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