Contend Earnestly: The Gospel Redux

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Gospel Redux

What I have found in Christendom these days, is the same that I am sure has been found in any era of post crucifixion life, the half truth of the gospel. The half truth of the gospel is the gospel of mere fear. It goes something like this: You don't want to go to hell do you? Then believe in Jesus so you don't have to. This gospel has probably won more false converts than any other. This gospel has led to the gospel being presented as more of an insurance commercial than a plenary gospel presentation. Think of it. Think of how insurance is sold. They cause you to fear things you didn't think you needed to fear, whether it is a flood, fire, your arm being chopped off or your kid dying, they want to bring up a fear to get your money.

How is this different than a gospel that says, "trust in Jesus and you won't go to the fire?" Atheists and agnostics see right through this fear mentality because they have seen it their whole lives in Aflac and Met Life commercials. The gospel becomes more of a fear tactic than life giving, God honoring good news.

If you think of it, it really fits in nicely with the legalists gospel. The legalist lives for showing you what he does NOT do. He doesn't go to R rated movies, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink, he doesn't listen to secular music, he doesn't, he doesn't, he doesn't...and...he doesn't go to hell. The legalist is all about what he doesn't do, instead of what he does do.

This isn't the gospel. The gospel isn't only what you don't do, but what you do. The gospel isn't merely, "I didn't want to go to hell" but, the gospel is more, "I am now an heir of Christ, adopted by God." The plenary gospel is the gospel that gives you God. The person who has been saved by grace doesn't tell you what they don't do, but who they live for. They live to glorify God in all they do. Sure, there are things that we are told to not do, but that isn't what defines us, what we do for the glory of God is what defines us. To be more specific, Jesus defines us.

If you notice in the presentation of the full and plenary gospel, it isn't merely that Christ died, but that he was resurrected. The Bible tells us these things:

who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Romans 8:34

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
John 14:1-6

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
1 Peter 3:18

You will notice that these references put much emphasis on where Christ is and where we are going. There are many places in the Scriptures that tell us of hell, and it will be a place of great sorrow and pain. But, for the believer, it isn't merely that we are not going there, but the fact that Christ has been raised to bring us in the presence of God. This is what we should be telling others. We aren't an infomercial on the best of two options, we are presenting the fact that one gets to be in the presence of their Creator who only wants our greatest joy to be full.

If we are in awe of the Grand Canyon, which is a mere creation, imagine when we see the One who Created it!


Anonymous said...

great post... check out this vid on youtube -

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