I have enjoyed the recent articles by Cal Thomas and Al Mohler regarding Herman Cain's suspension of his Presidential campaign. Both men make excellent points. In my readings yesterday, however, I was most moved by the words of a dead preacher named Charles Spurgeon. In a message he preached in 1857 from the book of Hebrews, he described three fools. The first is the wounded soldier on the battlefield who queries the medic about the weapon that wounded him rather than the physician's ability to save him. The second fool is the ship's captain in the midst of a horrible storm who goes below deck to read the encyoclopedia about the source and nature of Atlantic winds rather than working feverishly on deck to save his ship. The third fool is the immoral man who spends his time blaming others for his predicament rather than looking to God for his healing. Spurgeon, in his beautiful and eloquent way, points out that people who think themselves sophisticated will argue about the origins of the universe, the sources of evil, and other intricate questions, while neglecting the certain truth that we are all sinners in need of healing. Jesus Christ shed His blood to heal us. The Bible says emphatically and certainly that "without the shedding of (Christ's) blood, there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22), which stated positively means "through the shedding of (Christ's) blood there is forgiveness of sins." We all have the nature of Herman Cain. We all have the nature of Jerry Sandusky. We all have a natural tendency toward sin. We all have suffered and caused wounds as the result of our words, our actions, our lifestyles, our decisions, our lusts--our sins. The problem is we "trifle with subtleties while we neglect certainties." We argue with others over why we are the way we are, why we have done what we have done, why we find ourselves in the position we are in. We argue about the source of the winds rather fight to their dissipation. We analyze the weapons that have shot us rather than look for the cure for our wounds. The promise of God is profound: "The blood of Christ shall cleanse your consience from dead works to serve the living God" (Hebrews 9:14). One of these days I would love to hear someone humiliated by public exposure of their sin say something like the following:
"I am guilty. I have been inappropriate with women. I have broken the vows of my marriage. I have sinned against God and my wife. The only healing I can find is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ who died for me. This much is certain: My conscience can only be cleansed by Christ's shed blood. By faith I have turned to Him, and I am now beginning to experience that cleansing within my conscience. That does not mean I will not bear the consequences of my sin in this life or that I (or others) will not bear scars brought by my sins. What my faith in Christ means is that He alone can cleanse my conscience. I must not live my life trying to atone for my mistakes by making you promises. I have no claim on God's future goodness and forgiveness (or yours) by my commitment to reform. I am only cleansed and guaranteed God's forgiveness by the sacrifice of Christ who died for sinners like me. The humiliation brought me by the public exposure of my sin is healthy, for it has reminded me why Christ died. Now, in an ever increasing gratefulness for His cleansing, I am growing in my desire to serve Him. I am a man being changed by the grace of God from the inside out, and if you will be patient with me, I think you will see in the future I will not be the same man tomorrow that I was yesterday. If you find you cannot place your trust in a man whose conduct has been like mine, I will understand, and simply remind you, that one's faith is always misplaced when found in men and not in God."