Bad Medicine

A few weeks ago I had to take my five-year-old son to the doctor to get staples put in the back of his head. While at school he had fallen while suspending himself between two tables. It was typical horseplay from a typical boy. It wasn’t a large wound, only an inch or so long, and he dealt with the pain of getting the staples like a champ. But, what if I had not taken him to the doctor and instead told him to get a Band-Aid and slap it on his wound…or to rub some dirt on it? Yet this is exactly the solution some pastors offer for your biggest problem: sin. When the solution offered for your sin is to do more of “this” or do less of “that” you’re being offered a Band-Aid—or dirt—for an open wound that’s gushing blood everywhere. What’s worse than the pastors who only offer a Band-Aid for an open wound that’s gushing blood everywhere are the ones that ignore the wound altogether. Would you spend very much time going to a doctor that, when you came in for a visit about your large open wound that’s gushing blood everywhere, wanted to only distract you from the problem altogether? No, that would be ridiculous. Yet many of us do this same sort of thing Sunday after Sunday going to churches that offer all law and no gospel. These kinds of churches, for the most part, aren’t defined just by a denominational name…an all law church can come in any variety of denomination.

Going to a church that only preaches the law and never the gospel is like getting a Band-Aid for a large open wound, because you can never do enough of your own ability to stop the bleeding. As I pointed out in my last post, using the law lawfully, it is good to use the law…when what is presented as the solution is the gospel, not: “do more try harder”. I pray that you are in a church that’s a good balance of law and gospel, and that if you aren’t in one like that…that you find one.


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