Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash…. – Ezekiel 13:3,10
In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago.
The Court of Honor was nicknamed The White City because the buildings were all clad in white stucco and at night electric lights (then new) shone brightly on the buildings.
But the buildings were an illusion. They looked like marble and granite on the outside but were, in reality, only made of a mixture of plaster, cement, and jute fiber called staff, which was painted white, giving the buildings their “gleam” (World’s Columbian Exposition, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=World%27s_Columbian_Exposition&oldid=701703875 (last visited Jan. 27, 2016)).
Scripture warns the Church and Christians of succumbing to a similar temptation.
Christians are sinners yet forgiven by God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Christ alone makes us clean from sin and making us shine brightly with His righteousness. Yet we continue to sin. We need daily to be contrite and repent and put on Christ through faith. And we need to be honest about this. The temptation will be to put on a false garment of white to hide our sinfulness to the world instead.
The Church also needs to be honest as the Bride of Christ. The Church must proclaim the Truth of Christ in all its purity – as revealed in Holy Scripture.
C.F.W. Walther – a 19th century pastor – exhorts
According to God’s Word, the church that wants to make peace by leaving some of the truth behind and declaring false doctrine to be acceptable is a house of whitewashed walls that are neither mortared nor built upon solid ground. As a result, any wind can blow it down, and any rain can wash it away. Such a church is more dangerous than the most awful sect.
After the Chicago World’s Fair, fire destroyed many of the buildings. They were never intended to last anyway, but this is a vivid example of what happens when we rely on what is on the outside instead of building a permanent structure on the inside.
Christians, build on the immovable rock that is Jesus Christ! And your outside will reflect that permanence and shine as bright as the sun!