Gethsemane or Eden, which garden are you walking in.
Man is made in the image of God. He was created by God to govern creation on behalf of God. He is to dress it (care for it) and keep it (protect it). In governing, man was to understand and apply the word of God, graciously and righteously to creation. This image was marred and broken by sin. But in salvation this image is redeemed and is renewing in Christ. There is and should be a stark difference in life and behavior after salvation. This difference, this image, is reflected in thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds. This change affects individual behavior and also institutional behavior.
Put simply, the church should lead men to God. This leading is three pronged at its most basic: the confrontation of sin by the law and righteousness of God; the hope and consolation of grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ; and the discipling of nations to walk in faith and faithfulness as sons and daughters of God.
To lead means to go out in front, showing those who follow how to get to the desired destination. Yet, the church in America does astonishingly little leading. We get our music by emulating the world. We follow the fashions of the world. We chase after political salvation. We dress like the world. We talk like the world. Our attitudes mirror the world. Our tastes image the world. Sermons proclaimed from pulpits give worldly wisdom coated as thickly as necessary with a biblical sugar coating. The primary difference seen in Christians in America today is that everything we image is what unbelievers were saying and doing some 15-20 years ago. And now Marxism, relativism, social (in)justice, class hatred, gusseyed up racial hatred, and a myriad of other sins have been taught and are being taught in seminaries.
Because of increasingly feckless pastoring over the past 150 years, few Christians understand what it means to be salt and light, what it means to bind and loose. We are given the keys to bind or loose–to declare what is righteousness and what is sin. We are to bind sin and loose righteousness, but we have loosed sin and bound righteousness. When unbelievers challenge Christ and his reign, we protest but rarely stand firm and then lament when morals degrade…again.
This must stop. We must repent of a most heinous sin, one that Paul spoke of: “let us do evil that good may come.” We tell ourselves these things:
- Today is the time shortly before the return of Christ
- Everything is going to get worse and worse
- All efforts, even evangelism, will be largely futile
- Therefore there is no point in even trying
- God will soon rescue us from this rapidly decaying world
This is a doctrine that is devilish in origin. It whispers in our ears that the more evil we do (refusing to do kingdom work), the sooner great good will come (Christ’s return).
We need to repent of this and start looking at America (and the rest of the world also) as the garden we have been given to dress and to keep. In the garden of Eden, Adam stood idly by while his wife sinned and did not protect her. He then joined her in sin, condemning us all. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus chose to defend his bride with his life, suffering shame and death on the cross, but receiving victory over sin, death, and hell.
We need to stop imaging Adam–the old man, and return to imaging Christ–the new man.