Driving down the road in front of me the other day was what we call “an Asheville car”—a vehicle with its entire rear end covered in bumper stickers, many of which celebrating the uniqueness of this North Carolina mountain community. Some of the messages on these stickers are hilarious, some are just weird, while others are repulsive. This particular car had a sticker on it that disturbed me. It read, “Asheville, cesspool of sin.”
I don’t believe Asheville is any more sinful than the rest of the country. But seeing the phrase, which quotes a state senator’s description of the city, bothered me because someone found it “cool” to celebrate the moniker on his or her back bumper.
Later that day a good friend sent me a link to an article about a young woman who videoed her abortion and uploaded it to YouTube. In the video she celebrated the joy she said she had both during and after the procedure. Her greatest joy, she claimed, was that she had no guilt about the abortion and it made her feel good, just like giving birth. “Cool. I feel good,” she said, with the hope that her experience would encourage others to have abortions.
After these two closely aligned incidents, I was quickly reminded that this is the moral state of the country we live in. It not only sins but revels in its sin, approving of the sins of others. Paul told us this, but if you are at all like me, you don’t like to think of America in this way:
“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).
As we encounter America’s celebration of sin, how should we as believers live our lives? Let me suggest four things to remember:
- Don’t lose hope in the future. As part of God’s remnant we have reason to hope because no matter the fate of our nation, God will always care for His remnant.
- Don’t lose hope in the power of God’s Word. God through His Spirit and His Word can change the hearts of drivers who celebrate the sweetness of sin and people who applaud abortion. Remember, we were once just like them, among them, celebrating with them.
- Don’t lose hope in the patience of God to save sinners. Remember, God promised Abraham He’d save Sodom if He could find 10 righteous people. God is not capricious and His compassion, longsuffering, and patience dwarf our pale reflections of these virtues.
- Don’t lose hope in the power of genuine guilt. Genuine guilt points the way for the need of a Savior. It is not just a feeling, but a reality. We all stand guilty before a holy God. That’s a fact, not a feeling. When light finally graciously reveals our guilt, we cannot escape it by “feeling good.” Only Christ’s completed work is the escape. That work never loses its efficacy and its pursuit of sinners.