October 16, 2017
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
The group, ‘Public Agenda’ recently conducted a poll that found that most adult Americans have a negative view of youth and attribute kids’ faults to a lack of moral foundation. Only 37% believe that today’s children will grow up to make our country a better place. When asked what first comes to mind when they think of today’s teenagers, ‘Americans use adjectives such as rude, irresponsible, and wild, while younger children are characterized as lacking discipline and spoiled.’ Americans are also out of accord with the Presidential agenda, this survey said, of ‘more government funding for child care and health care programs.’ This ranked second from last out of 12 ways of helping kids. The top item on the list: ‘Improving the quality of the public schools.’ Well, neither improving the quality of public schools nor government funding will solve the problems of a lack of moral foundation in today’s youth.
The problems are at first spiritual problems. We should be ready as Christians to pass out the cup and bread to those who are in need, but never divorced from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the gospel the bread is food for the dying and the cup is drink for the hopeless. The moral fabric of our nation will never change if the gospel is not central to our attempts at change. A few months ago Philadelphia was the focus of a national campaign to enlist volunteers for social programs. Politicians came here, Hollywood came, the Press came, and our legacy: The murder rate here is still two per day, the bars and strip clubs are keeping the same hours (I imagine), nothing has changed. The great social action that was initiated without Christ, has, it seems, failed. And it always will fail without the gospel. A changed heart is the starting point for all social good will and as followers of Christ we should lead with the sword of our salvation if wish to impact our community. Then the gospel becomes not only our blessing but also a blessing to all those around us.
‘If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.’ Augustine‘If our Lord’s bearing our sin for us is not the gospel, I have no gospel to preach …. The heart of the gospel is redemption …’ C. H. Spurgeon