The Theology of Television

We live in a culture where media is truth and absolutes are fluid. We are living in a day where the internet is our doctors and our doctors are know-it-alls.

We could argue for days as to why times like these have surfaced now days, but it would be time wasted. Whether we like to admit it or not, television affects us. Media affects us. Social media affects us. The internet affects us. Texting affects us. These things listed do not affect us in some physical sense. They not only affect the way we think, but the way we view reality and the world around us. My wife and I have about 2 1/2 shows that we could sit down and watch together because of our different preferences of shows we like to watch. However, we have been continually watching a show for quite some time now.

Our culture has such a vain view of God. Living in a post-modern culture in America has warped so many minds of the past two or three generations. There was specifically one episode I remember rather well. One of the main characters had killed her husband for cheating on their marriage.

Let’s stop right there.

This is the normal in our culture. Adultery seems to no longer have the same effect on our culture as it once did. It’s almost as if there are some movies, televisions shows, etc. that would likely promote it – especially if life’s goal is to pursue happiness. But one of the darkest moments for me in this show was when the woman murderer said something regarding Christianity. She said this:

“I must confess my sins to the world so the Lord will hear me…so he will take me back to his flock…so he will speak to me once again..so he will show me a sign of his love again.”

This statement here says a couple of things: 1) the world has a very warped view of Christianity (duh, right?), and 2) it shows how people in our culture view truth and how they view God. Whether people actually know it or not, everyone has a worldview. Everyone has opinions of how they view God, truth, creation, etc. No one is exempt from this.

So let’s analyze this statement.

The first phrase reads, “I must confess my sins to the world so the Lord will hear me.” In the opening statement of this quote, we see something that on the surface is true for evangelical Christians. When we confess our sins, the Lord will hear us. And when we confess, we should confess not only to God alone, but also to others. James wrote,

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

Biblical confession demands confession with other people.

This main character in the episode of this show seemed to be on the right track, but she was not. Because she said if she would confess her sins to the world so that:

  • The Lord would hear her
  • The Lord would take her back into his flock
  • The Lord would speak to her once again
  • The Lord would show a sign of his love to her again

According to this quote, this character believes that it is only by her confession and admittance to a sin she committed that God will act on her behalf. According to this character, her action of confession is what obligates God to take her back.

This. Is. Our. Culture.

This is our media. This is the time period in which we live. This is the way our culture has shaped humankind. This is the affect our culture has on our minds. Our culture has given us media to say things like this and we accept it as truth. Instead of seeking Scriptural study and meditation to find the true answers, we lean more on popular cultural trends and media for answers.

Friends, God is never obligated to act on your behalf. God is never obligated to work on my behalf. God does not act because someone says so. God acts because of His grace and mercy. It is only be his graceful and merciful character in which we have the opportunity for confession and the gift of his forgiveness and appeasement of his wrath. It is only because of Jesus Christ that we have forgiveness at all. Only by the cross of Christ is our sins forgiven. Only by his atoning sacrifice of himself in our place for our sins are we able to have any sort of conversation with God.

The purpose of forgiveness and confession is not just to admit your sins. When we look at the cross, we truly understand that Christ’s sacrifice has already given us forgiveness because we are no longer counted as unrighteous by our standards, but counted righteous because Christ is our righteousness. This means that now our forgiveness does not hinge on our confessing, but rather on Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross.

But this does not give us an avenue to stop confessing our sins. The goal of Christ-likeness in the Christian life is to be like Him. Our goal, because Christ was sinless, is to sin less. Obviously, we will fail and sin often. And because we will fail, we should confess our sins, we should acknowledge that we have sinned against God, we should admit that we have done wrong, and we should aspire to be more like Christ by not continuing in these sinful acts.

We do not confess for God to act. We do not confess for God’s approval. We confess because it gives us an opportunity for restoration and Christ-likeness.

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