This current evangelical trend toward “authenticity” dismays me, but it really doesn’t surprise me. Once you strip away all the psycho-babble and distorted Scripture verses used to support it, you’ll find that people generally use the term to excuse sin. For example, someone I used to be close to divorced his wife, “married” his same sex partner and rejected basic Biblical doctrines all because he wants to be “authentic” before God.
But such “authenticity” only confirms that we are naturally rebellious toward Christ and His Word. We embrace our favorite sinful behaviors (grumbling, foul language, sexual impurity or whatever it is) as “who we are,” and expect other Christians to admire us for our “honest” lifestyle.
In fact, if they dare to confront us, especially by showing us Bible verses that counter our behavior, we indignantly accuse them of judging us. As we see it, God commends our authenticity, and therefore no one has any business calling our actions into question.
Sounds good on Facebook perhaps, but that attitude of refusing correction doesn’t really sit well with the Lord. Allow me to present just one of many Scriptures that address “authenticity” as a reason to refuse correction:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice. ~~Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)
Okay, the Lord also has plenty to say about the attitudes of those who offer correction, and we’ll talk about His expectations in that regard tomorrow. Right now, however, we need to focus on the notion that self-proclaimed authenticity exempts us from repenting of things that seem intrinsic to our personality.
Yesterday I wrote that, although the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (past, present and future), He still desires us to live in holiness as a grateful response to His mercy and grace. Authenticity to our old nature fails to reflect His Spirit, Who gives us a new nature when He regenerates us.
Authenticity doesn’t have to mean that we remain enslaved to the sinful behaviors that Jesus died to release us from. As beneficiaries of His death on the cross, we have freedom to live lives that honor Him. Because He makes us new creations when He brings us to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He calls us to be authentic to our new, redeemed natures.