Yeah, those stupid men! I think this rankles me because it puts men down, trivializes sin and a cosmic sacrifice of, well, Biblical proportions all in one little quasi-blasphemous postcard. It almost ranks up there with the T-shirts that were going around back in the late 80s, early 90s that had a picture of Jesus on the cross and the slogan, "This blood's for you!" Or, maybe Air Jesus T-shirts which attempted to say you put Jesus on a high pedestal like Michael Jordan.
While I'm all for naming the promises of God, I'm mindful of the fact that they don't apply to everyone. Esau, for instance, would derive no benefit from any of God's promises. Mainly because he despised his birthright, both physical and spiritual. And he couldn't bring himself to repent. He just lived in his passions and appetites.
Sadly, that describes most people. Jesus taught this in Matthew 7. He described the narrow gate (Himself) as the way to life. But the wide gate (personal gratification and an unrepentant heart) as the easy way that most would follow.
So, for those who don't see the horror of their sin before a holy God, for the people who actually recoil when you talk of spiritual things (I'm talking about Biblical spiritual things, not magic crystals, incense and sacred stones), these hopeful little catch-phrases are actually harmful.
Why? Why would I say such a horrible thing! After all, we need to convince the lost of how awesome it is to have all these cool promises to quote with Hallmark pictures to back them up!
I say this because of what Jesus also taught in the sermon on the mount. It's not one of those verses that get quoted with a field of lilies.
"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." Matt. 7:6.
Can you imagine? How about a picture like this:
Yeah, I don't think that would get too many "likes," or "shares," or "amens."
Or how about something more convicting for the lost. After all, before a sick man can seek a cure, he needs to realize he's sick. So, just as God introduced the Law first, to show us our sin, we should help people realize the sickness before we trot out with the promises and hope. Because a sick person shouldn't be celebrating with the healthy until he's received the cure!
Maybe something like this:
It could have the caption, "You are dead in your sins and trespasses! click "like!" and Amen! And Share if you agree!" Or, it could say, "Our good deeds are as grave clothes before God. Click "Like" and say "Amen!""
I suspect that would start knocking down people's "friend" list pretty quick. It might be as effective as Jesus' statement to his followers that unless they drink his blood and eat his flesh, they can have no part of him. That was just too freaky for most of the crowd. And, interestingly, Jesus turned to his 12 disciples and asked, "Are you leaving, too?" Of course they didn't. Peter even confessed, "Where else will we go? You have the words of life!"
Unfortunately, a great many people don't see it that way. They don't care about Jesus being both God and man, living perfectly holy all his life so he could drink the wrath of God that was poured out for all those who would repent and accept His sacrifice in their stead. They trample that wonderful grace underfoot and claim God is not loving because He will require payment for all the sin we commit while conveniently forgetting that they've rejected His loving offer of forgiveness on account of Jesus' sacrifice. Just see your sin for what it is before God. Agree with God that you're a sinner with no excuse. Then repent, and turn from that sin trusting God's spirit to help you leave your sin behind in an ever more powerful way.
But like Esau, many will find it too difficult to repent. And they'll heed the call of their lusts and passions and despise the birthright that could be theirs. They won't "like" God's plan of payment for sin. And they won't say "Amen" to obedience to God's word. And they certainly won't "Share" the good news.