ERICKSON: Mammon chose Barabbas

March 29, 2013 

This weekend marks the most important event in human history. Western culture is largely defined by the consequences of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. From art to geography, our world reflect the events of 1,980 years ago this weekend.

1,980 years ago today, the world put God on trial. When offered a choice, the world surrendered up God to be tortured, crucified, and killed and asked that Pontius Pilate free the criminal Barabbas instead. Still, Christ prevailed.

There is no compromise between the Christ who conquered death and the world. Christians, complacent in this country and relatively free of harassment, would be wise to remember this.

The religious liberty in the First Amendment is meant to protect the religious as they seek to draw people to them. But the world demands instead that the First Amendment be used to draw the religious to the world and silence those who refuse to go along for the ride. In making an idol of our democratic freedom, the irony is that many evangelicals in America are abdicating the use of it.

What Christians in the United States of America have forgotten or never learned is that the world is deeply hostile to the things, and people, of God.

Many young evangelicals, in an effort to go along to get along, seek compromises to avoid conflict and be liked by the world. “I’m not one of those Christians,” they think and often say.

They want the world to like them and to think them a part of the world. They view Christians who are seen as too hostile to others as inferior in spreading the Gospel or too judgmental. They fall victim to the sin of pride that their gospel is greater.

Unfortunately for them, they’ll be hated anyway, even if they don’t realize it.

Christ was very clear on this, saying, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

The world will not allow a compromise between Christians and the world.

Christians are called to love their neighbors. Loving their neighbors does not mean turning a blind eye to their sin, or giving tacit approval to sin. Christians should want no one to go to hell. But we’ve arrived at a point where should we even mention this, we’re accused of wishing people to hell.

We must live our lives with love toward everyone and be friends to all who are opening to being friends. But we should not delude ourselves. At some point the world will make us choose. And if we choose Christ, the world will accuse us of hating, condemning and judging. The world is deeply hostile to the Christian idea of loving the sinner, but not the sin. The world believes we cannot love the sinner if we do not fully affirm them, which means loving, or at least tolerating or accepting, their sin.

If we truly love our neighbor we must pray for their repentance, not accept their sin. If they tell us God made them that way, we must affirm we are all born sinners. God didn’t do it. Our fallen nature did. The struggle with sin leads us closer to God. Those who revel in sin do not draw close.

Christians, particularly young evangelicals, are deluded if they think they can seek a compromise with the world. Mammon chose Barabbas and 1,980 years later too many Christians are choosing Mammon.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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