They profess to know God,
but they deny him by their actions.
A Holy chisel
Keeping God’s name Holy is about a lot more than words.
We all know the accusation that the church is full of hypocrites. And I guess that it’s better to have us in church than not; there’s always the chance that God’s Word will get through to us, chipping away at our hypocrisy like a sculptor wrestling a piece of stone into the form he desires.
There is always a tension between the noble aspirations of the faith and the realities of frail human beings. We are called to follow Jesus, but such perfect love is not easily attained. We are too easily seduced by the cacophony around us and the desires within. One of my favorite sayings of Luther is that baptism may drown the old Adam, but the dead body keeps floating to the surface.
But the ordinary struggle of ordinary Christians to be the heart and hands of Christ in the world is different that those of whom Titus speaks. The greater danger to the world. and the greater misuse of God’s name, are those who speak of God falsely. It’s tricky ground to say someone is speaking falsely – though some, like the Westboro Baptist Church make it easier.
But the task isn’t to become inquisitors of others; it is to examine myself. Do my actions betray the one who calls to the world in grace? Does my treatment of others dishonor the name of the one who formed us all in love? Do I testify not just in words but in deeds to a God who gathers the outcasts, lifts up the wounded, and sets free those who are bound? Do I let God gather me in, lift me up, and set me free?
Come, Lord, with your holy chisel.