Macy Gray has had a tough month. By now everyone has seen her public about-face on the definition of womanhood. She went from describing some of the physical differences between men and women during a conversation with Piers Morgan to declaring that anyone in the LGBT community is a “hero” and “being a woman is a vibe” in an appearance on the “Today Show.”
Many people see Gray’s reversal as the public humiliation ritual it appears to be on the surface.
I see a powerful spiritual lesson about the grace and mercy of God, personified in Jesus Christ, contrasted with the vengeance of our culture’s false idols.
One of the most unpopular aspects of Christianity for people who reject it is the notion that wrath is a part of God’s definition of justice. This is a throughline in scripture, starting in the Old Testament, where death was listed as the punishment for a multitude of sins. It continues into the New Testament, where the Apostle Paul writes this in Romans 1:18:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
Paul goes on to define “unrighteousness” for his readers further in the chapter and includes everything from murder and malice to envy and disobedience to parents. The message is clear: No one is truly righteous of his own accord, and God’s wrath is the just punishment for all sin.
This is why I reject any ideology that links humanity’s sin nature with skin color. We have seen this play out in America through historical stereotypes about the savageness and promiscuity of black people as well as the current framing of “whiteness” as rooted in theft and genocide. It is possible to have honest discussions about crime and injustice without attributing people’s individual actions to their nature or ascribing them to their ethnic identity. The Bible is clear that no person or group is inherently evil or righteous. The same acts of evil may not be as prevalent among every group or within every nation, but that does not mean anyone has a monopoly on either vice or virtue.
The punishment for mankind’s depravity is pretty bad news. Thankfully the story does not end there.
In the Christian faith, the good news is that a person is made right with God (i.e. “justified”) by turning from sin and believing that Jesus Christ took the punishment for the person’s unrighteousness on the cross. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection complete a cosmic transaction for the true believer: Jesus takes on our sins and we take on his righteousness. All of this is a function of God’s grace and mercy, which means no human can boast about any part of the process.
It is the ultimate act of restorative justice.
America’s new civil religion is a cheap copy of a perfect original. Whether you call it social justice or “wokeness,” it includes the intense desire to right all historical wrongs, eliminate all disparities between groups, and liberate all groups oppressed from their oppressors. It has some of the same elements as the Christian faith: sacred texts, prophets, teachers, and evangelists, as well as a definition of justice that repays sin with vengeance.
One thing this faith doesn’t have is mercy or grace for the unrighteous. It also lacks any sense of full and final payment for one’s sins, which distorts the nature of good works. For Christians, moral behavior is the fruit of salvation, but within the woke church, it is the root of salvation.
In this false religion, repentance and belief (in lies) only lead to more sacrifices, more apologies, more commitments to “do better,” and more shame. There is no assurance, only perpetual insecurity regarding one’s faithfulness. Macy Gray found this out the hard way, as have countless others who have issued multiple apologies and pledged to support LGBT organizations after upsetting the gods of sex and sexuality.
Christians can have peace because we know that our faith rests on the only one who is truly righteous. Jesus was flogged publicly for the sins of all who believe in him. Macy Gray was flogged publicly for affirming God’s design for men and women. God gives Christians the spiritual weapons to fight our sin. False gods demand that their followers fight the truth.
Prophets and evangelists in the Bible declare God’s wrath and love – rooted in His holiness and justice – to spur the ungodly to repentance. The false prophets of social justice use fear and manipulation – rooted in lies – to force people into conversion. They know that the average person would rather bend his knee in submission than be publicly nailed to his own cross.
This is why pastors who advise believers to practice “pronoun hospitality” with the gender-confused or Christian social commentators who believe drag queens reading to children are a “blessing of liberty” are guilty of spiritual malpractice.
A good shepherd leads his flock to green pastures for their sustenance and drives off wolves for their protection. Encouraging the sheep to eat synthetic grass or advising them to be more winsome toward those who wish to devour them are signs of a shepherd who is ill equipped to carry out his vocation.
We live in an age where the social, medicinal, and surgical “transition” of people who are confused about their gender is official federal policy. No amount of gentleness or compromise will satisfy those who see rejection of transgenderism as the ultimate act of blasphemy.
This is why the Bible forbids idol worship and warns Christians not to be controlled by the fear of man. God knows how easy it is to draw our affections away from Him and toward other loves who will never love us back. Every other religion tells its followers all the things they must “do” to be made righteous. It is a list that has no end. The Christian looks at the cross and hears Jesus say his work on our behalf is “finished.”
Only one of those sounds like good news to me.