A friend of mine recently posted an Oswald Chambers quote that really disturbed me. It was based on part of a verse out of John. It stirred within me emotions that I’m not sure how to discribe. Anger? Frustration? I felt a desperate need to shout, “No! This is wrong! Please don’t go down this path.”
Here is the quote:
“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. When we have been convicted of sin we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary, and nothing less; the love of God is spelt on the Cross and nowhere else.”
Shallow nonsense? Really?
Chambers bases his statement off a phrase, not even an entire sentence/complete thought or verse, but merely a piece of a thought. A thought, that I contend, says quite the opposite. This sort of thing really riles me. Maybe it’s because it happened all too often throughout my childhood to support the false teachings that I was fed.
Here is the portion of the verse Chamber uses:
“And when He is come, He will convict the world of sin …” John 16:8
The following is the text from which this phrase is taken. I want to talk about it, so my notes will be sprinkled throughout.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
Christ states here that the helper is the spirit of truth. This helping spirit will open our spiritual eyes to truth – to reality. Truth shows us the reality about Christ.
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.”
Christ warned his followers so they would understand what was going on when their perceived reality began to fall apart.
“They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”
Christ told his followers that it would be the very ones who believed they were serving God that would end up killing them. How familiar this sounds. Today many so-called “Christians” kill relationships, emotional and mental well being, some even the physical body. Then they claim God told them to. These “Christians” excommunicate people from their churches, some from their homes, all in the name of God. They beat their children and belittle their wives. Like many of the Jews of old, they do not know the Father or his Christ.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”
Christ said that if he didn’t go away then the helper wouldn’t come. In other words, if Christ didn’t go then Truth wouldn’t come. Remember, the helper is the spirit of truth.
“But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Notice here that Christ says that the spirit of truth is going to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement. He doesn’t say that the world will be convicted of sin. The word translated ‘convict’ means to rebuke or expose. Christ says the spirit of truth is going to expose the truth about harmartia (missing the mark, failure), dikaiosuné (justice, divine approval, righteousness), and krisis (a decision, judgment).
concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
This is the phrase used by Chambers in his devotional, but rather than convicting the world of sin, the spirit of truth came to rebuke the world concerning sin. Truth points to Christ, not to sin. Truth points to faith, not to works. Truth show us it is done, now go believe it is finished. True failure is not believing in the finished work of Christ. Truth will opening our eyes concerning what really matters – faith. We fail when we try to make ourselves holy by living a “holy” life. Truth will reveal to us that we no longer need to suffer guilt concerning sin, Christ already did. The truth concerning sin is that Christ paid it all … once … for … all.
concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
We have received divine approval through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. The truth is Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father and we are approved.
concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Who is “the ruler of this world”? Slander. False accusation. What brings death and darkness? Deception. Deception ruled the world until Christ. We have been set free. We can now receive the spirit of truth. Truth shows us we are not guilty. The accuser is judged. The false accuser wants us to hone in on our sin, focusing on whether or not we are doing the right things, making us feel guilty. The deceiver wants us to focus on death and how it is all our fault. Christ conquered sin and death. Truth shows us we are alive, we are loved, we are free.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 15:26 – John 16:15
The spirit of truth will guide us into all truth. When we believe in Christ and his unconditional love for us, our eyes will be opened. We will see life. We will see love. We will know that God’s love is what saves us. We will know we are forgiven because of love. Is it “shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love”? Absolutely not! Look at the following (bolded for emphasis).
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11
This is not shallow nonsense! This is the Good News!