Should we strive to preach the deliverance of sin during times of disaster?
As I’m writing this there are plenty of major disasters happening around the globe. Florida is currently suffering the blow of Hurricane Irma and, unfortunately, I’m sure there are other natural disasters taking place elsewhere. During these devastating times, there is often another disaster that rares its ugly head. I’m talking about fundamentalists, both the religious and the atheistic. The comments of popular news sites are filled with remarks about sin’s consequence or how a “sky daddy” won’t save anyone because he doesn’t exist.
These folks are trolls who desire nothing more than to push an ideology onto someone whenever it suits them, and natural disasters are too often the go to. What better way to condemn the world to repentance by painting disasters as a kind of cosmic punishment? We’re pushing salvation as a deliverance from sin and a door to sanctification instead of a communal with Christ Jesus.
Oswald Chambers called salvation “The Abandonment of God,” a giving of oneself entirely to another, and he couldn’t be more right. Friends, you mean well, but sanctification and holiness are hardly the reasons Christ came to save us. They are a fruit of salvation, yes, but they are not the centre of salvation. Jesus didn’t come simply to give us purity so we can be with Him later, He came to give Himself fully to us in our worst, most fallen moments. Salvation isn’t a turning away, it’s a turning towards the one who saves. It is abandoning ourselves completely and being caught up in the glory of His presence and love. We’re called to proclaim Jesus Christ and His resurrection. John 3:16 is a declaration of God giving Himself absolutely, with nothing held back. When we join this communal bond we shouldn’t even have a consciousness of sin and abandonment as we are gaining life abundantly.
I write this with a heavy heart as I’m simply tired of eschatological preachers who make everything into a fulfillment of end times prophecy. I’m saddened because we aren’t getting our hands dirty to help our neighbours. We’re using a tragedy as a means to guilt people into salvation and that is never the way Christ approached it. He gave Himself fully so that we could abide in Him and share that love with those who need it most.