I’ve always wondered why we as human beings have never wanted to be told what to do. It’s so innate that we just have to touch that wall that says “Do Not Touch: Wet Paint”, always crossing the line. We know that something is probably wrong, yet we cross it. Always, every time, without fail. All of it comes down to one rather annoying word: pride.
People hate being told what to do, whether it be what you should be wearing, how you should be speaking, or what we should or shouldn’t be eating and drinking. People go absolutely “bonkers” if you tell them that modesty can be defined, that you shouldn’t be cussing, or you probably shouldn’t be drinking that beer.
I think it is like that anywhere — no one ever likes being told what to do. We’re free to choose what we want, not to follow a bunch of legalistic rules. Christians have rights too — some things are left open for debate in the Bible. And it gets messy when you decide to have a position on those points.
It’s here that I propose to you a solution to some of these problems: get back to the basics. The gospel is the main thing, and the main thing must stay the main thing. So many of the issues within our churches could be solved if only we began to preach the pure gospel, unfiltered and without sugar. We can’t continue to preach a watered down gospel, or our churches will continue in the watered down state they are in. Our churches are so bland, so empty — and it’s because of a lack of preaching the wonderful cross.
The Gospel Defined
The first step for us is to define what the gospel is. Truly, if we boil it down, the gospel would defined as the “good news.” But how is it good news? Is it good news because God loves us? Is it good news Jesus died for us? Couldn’t he show us love in another way?
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man,” said Paul, “I was shown mercy.” The gospel starts with you and me. We are blasphemers. Liars. Thieves. Adulterers. Coveting. Murderers. Disobedient. You name it, we’ve done it, whether in thought or deed. And it breaks us — it kills us. We quickly realize what God has demanded of us — perfection — and we’ve fallen so dismally short. We’re so terribly sinful that we should be completely annihilated.
“For all have sinned,” says Paul in Romans, “and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
Just taking one look at the Law of God should break us into a million pieces, and lead us to understand that none of us are good, and we all deserve hell. This is essential in understanding the glorious gospel.
God was not willing that any should perish. “For God so loved the world,” says John, “that He gave his only Son that whoever would believe in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.” God sent His Son to take our place, becoming a sacrifice for God, serving and up-keeping justice. Christ took upon Himself all our sins, allowing us to repent (turn away from our sins), believe in Him, and turn to Christ as our Savior. So simple, such a paradox, and so beautiful.
If only our churches would preach repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith! Many issues would solve themselves, and we can all agree once more on the basics, the literal Word of God and that glorious gospel.