I saw that phrase a while back in an ad in Christianity Today. I know nothing about the book it’s advertising, but I can’t get the phrase out of my head. There are a lot of issues in the world right now that I have opinions about, and the temptation is to join the Facebook or blogging fray and say, “I know how to fix it.”
I want to say that marital love and Natural Family Planning is the answer to the abortion epidemic (actually, I think this is an answer to a lot of problems).
I want to say that voting the right person into office is the solution to our political problems.
I want to say that an affordable complete blood count and a steady supply of gloves is the solution to the Ebola outbreak.
I still think that NFP, good leadership, affordable technologies, etc. will help solve these problems. However, I am more and more and more reminded that they are not the answer.
The Bible and the news teach us that the world is broken. I’m not convinced that it’s getting more broken recently (the Corinthians, for example, struggled with quite a bit…), but it sure feels like it sometimes.
However, the Bible also tells us two things:
1) Jesus is the world’s remedy.
The Creator God saw that the people He loved had broken His world. Instead of leaving us to it, He entered it as one of us and took the punishment – death – to redeem each of us and the world He gave us. Jesus’s sacrifice is for everything.
2) Jesus is the world’s only remedy.
God’s Word teaches us that there are laws that, if followed, make life better. However, they don’t touch the root problem: sin leading to death. Obeying those laws, voting the “right” person into office, opening ourselves to life, or donating money to disease research or refugee relief treats the symptoms but not the cause of the world’s brokenness. It’s like putting cortizone cream on chicken pox or taking NyQuill for a cold or taking Tylenol for malaria – the treatment might stop the itching, the sniffling, or the fever, but the illness remains. So with our worldly problems. We can help – and we should help – by doing things mentioned above. But they’re not the answer. Jesus is the only remedy that solves the problem.
His death on the cross takes the punishment for the whole world, rescuing us from the death we deserve and allowing creation to return to a right relationship to God. His way is the only way.
We’re in an “already and not yet” state right now – the debt has already been paid and the world redeemed, but Jesus has not yet returned to bring everything to completion. There’s still time for us poor sinners to recognize that He is the only remedy to our deepest problem.
Everything is broken. But, take heart! The Gospel is the remedy.
*Note – I link to this video to show an example of the underlying culture of death and how quietly it can slip in, not to say I agree with the right to self-murder. (The other links are responses against the brokenness of the world.)