There’s no denying that our society is very politically correct. Our churches have followed suit. My reading in Scripture today brings me to question such political correctness. When we sidestep certain verses in the Bible because of their potential to offend, are we not also lying—depraving each other of the truth that sets the record straight and brings clarity to the life we live in the place we live? What you’re about to read may anger you. After all, we do live in a very politically correct culture, so I don’t expect any of this to be very popular or sweet to the ears. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then can we afford to read it through a politically correct filter? Today I read in Hosea. Specifically chapters 8 and 9. Here’s a couple excerpts that capture some of what I’m getting at:
“Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors.” (9.1; ESV)
“Ephraim is stricken; their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Even though they give birth, I will put their beloved children to death. My God will reject them because they have not listened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.” (9.16-17; ESV)
These verses are some of the most blunt verses I’ve read. How many times have these verses been the focus of a sermon on Sunday? Probably not as much as Philippians 3.16 or John 3.16. There’s nothing wrong with those verses. They too are the very words of God. My concern is that if we only consider the parts of Scripture that pass the P.C. test, then our understanding of who God is and who we are will only represent part of the whole. It feels good to talk about the love of God, and—believe me—I am in complete and utter awe of the love of God for me. But I believe that His love is much greater than the politically correct God that we piece together with the verses that we like—that make us feel good.
So what are these two chapters in Hosea talking about? If you’ve read Hosea before, then you may remember that God called the prophet Hosea to marry “a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom” (1.2; ESV). Why? Because the people of God had committed “great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” (1.2; ESV). So Hosea is supposed to marry a whore in order to illustrate to all of Israel that, as far as being the Lord’s bride is concerned, they were not faithful to God—they were giving themselves to unholy practices. As you read through Hosea, you find that God is extremely angry at the sin—the unfaithfulness—of His people. That is the context of the verses I quoted above.
What’s the point of all of this? The point is that sin is not a small thing. God HATES sin. He has every right to. He is the holy, perfect, Creator of the universe. When you read the story about the woman who was about to be stoned and Jesus says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8.7; ESV), God is the only one who satisfies the requirement for having authority to “throw the stone”. What we see in Hosea is how God sees sinners. It’s not pretty. It’s most definitely not politically correct. But it is honest. We are sinners. Outside of Christ’s righteousness, we have nothing that makes us worthy to stand before God. We deserve judgement. God would be right in condemning all of mankind. But then there’s the love of God.
In Hosea 1 God reveals the whole plan:
“When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, ‘Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’ Yet the number of children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’” (1.8-10; ESV)
Ephesians 2.1-6 communicates a similar point:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2.1-6; ESV)
When we remove the rose colored glasses and see the truth about who we are and who God is, it is then that we see the depth, the richness, the magnitude, the graciousness, of the love of God. He has not loved us because of who we are, but because of who He is. Romans 9.10-16 says this well:
“And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, ‘the older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
God has called His people—breathing life into their dry bones—not because of their worthiness or ability to change their sinful ways, but because He is merciful and has the total sovereignty and authority to save those whom He has purposed to save through Christ’s sacrifice. Without Him my righteousness, at best, amounts to filthy rags (Isaiah 64.6). God has saved his bride from all of her whoredom, and has clothed her in the purest of garments—now being prepared for the great wedding day. And all of this is possible only because God has willed it, and what He wills to do He accomplishes without fail. It’s a good thing that God chose to save sinners, because, if He were looking for good people, none of us would get in (Romans 3.10-18). That may not be politically correct, but it is the truth—for the glory of God alone.