1 John – What the Gospel Provides That ‘Cancel Culture’ or Political Conservatism Cannot
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
We all have to find a way to deal with the reality of the past, the temptations of the present, and the planning for the future.
One way that this is being dealt with in our society is by what has been called the “Cancel Culture,” which “calls for punishment of celebrities, artists, athletes, and other prominent individuals who have spoken against Social Justice [capital letters intentional], often unwittingly…” (Pluckrose & Lindsay, Cynical Theories, 222). The goal of the “Cancel Culture” may be observed in the practice: “This chilling practice often involves the utter destruction of someone’s career and reputation for something she might have said decades ago, or as a teenager” (222).
There are clearly past injustices that should be identified, but where do we go after identification? How does the gospel shape our approach to this? The gospel of Jesus Christ honestly acknowledges the past, deals with our sins, and gives us a clear path forward with confidence. This again is why 1 John is so helpful in a day like today. What John is doing here is confirming the Christians and clarifying the way forward. As followers of Jesus Christ, we can be joyfully confident in who we are and how we are to live.
Please Know Why You Should Be Joyfully Confident (1 John 2:12-14)
John wants his hearers to know why he is writing and to find assurance through this writing. John is encouraging these believers whose confidence in the truth has been shaken:
- Your sins are forgiven! (v. 12)
- You have known Jesus! (v. 13)
- You have overcome Satan! (v. 13)
- You know God (Father)! (v. 13)
- You know Jesus (incarnate Word)! (v. 14)
- You’re overcoming Satan in the strength of the Word! (v. 14)
Please Know How You Should Love and Live (1 John 2:15-17)
The command of the passage is clear, and John is going to give two reasons why Christians must not love the world:
- You cannot love the Father and the world (v. 15).
By world, John must be referring to the darkness before mentioned — a sinful power within this age. He outlines the world this way: lust of the flesh (sexual immorality mentally, emotionally, physically; gluttony); lust of the eyes (covetousness, consumerism, materialism, love of money, looking that leads to unbridled wanting); pride of life (personal status [based on things, knowledge, accomplishments], one-up syndrome).
- The will of God is eternal, but the world is not eternal (vv. 16-17).
The Christian should be marked by the reality of eternity. There is a future that is far better than the present. Because this is true, we have a proper perspective on this world. Because we know that the eternal is real and that this world is passing away, we war against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
The Christian should be marked by the reality of eternity.
The cancel culture and political conservatism cannot offer you true forgiveness or a clear path forward. What the gospel offers is true forgiveness in Jesus Christ and a clear path forward — don’t love the world. The cancel culture and political conservatism can help point out what is wrong, but only the Lord can show how deeply wrong the sin is, deal with the sin completely, and give us a clear path forward. Christians may KNOW that they are forgiven through Jesus Christ, and they may KNOW how to love and live.
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