For many people, being a Christian means doing a list of things that Christians are supposed to do. In fact, as well meaning as we may be, our efforts to see laws passed that reflect our Christian values can sometimes be misguided moralism. As the church of Jesus Christ, we cannot be content to just see people behave well. We must desire that they be genuinely and eternally transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything short of the true gospel isn’t the gospel at all.
I recently re-read The Plight of Man and the Power of God by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In that helpful little series of sermons, Lloyd-Jones outlines the very problem I am discussing. He gives a helpful illustration for the insufficiency of ethical behavior as a replacement of the genuine gospel. He says, “A little child is away from home, perhaps even staying with relatives. He becomes homesick and cries for his mother. The friends do their best. They produce toys, they suggest games, they offer sweets and chocolates and everything they know the child enjoys. But it all avails nothing. Dolls and toys and the rarest delicacies cannot satisfy when a child wants his mother. They are flung contemptuously aside by a young philosopher who realizes that, at that point, they are a veritable insult. He needs his mother and nothing else will do. Man in his state of sin does not know what he really needs.”
So Lloyd-Jones pinpoints the problem. We don’t need more laws to make us good. We don’t even need more “good” people. We need Jesus and the life he gives. Nothing else will do. Nothing else will satisfy our souls. Nothing else will bring true change in the society. True change happens one heart at a time as Christ reigns in that heart.