Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Different Gospel?

Running off of the same theme as yesterday, I was reading Galatians 1:6-9 today and it says,

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!"

Paul was telling the people that there is no other Gospel than that which already exists. We tend to water down the Gospel. We even tend to make it something that was only good for conversion but not applicable for the rest of our Christian lives.

Everything is connected to the Gospel. From the Old Testament events pointing forward to the writings of the New Testament. The topics we teach about in church today also must be connected to the Gospel. Sometimes we disconnect the two. We preach on morality or topical issues and do not relate it to the Gospel. The Gospel isn't just for the salvation, but for the entire life! The Gospel doesn't just get you into the Kingdom - it should be revisited in everything we teach and to. The Gospel isn't just about justification but also sanctification.

If we teach moral topics without the Gospel as their foundation, we simply teach people to just practice good discipline to be good people. In essence, we teach them to do good works in order to be holy. If we disconnect the Gospel from morality we make Christianity works based like all other religions. The Gospel isn't just what gets you in - it is the basis of EVERYTHING in the Christian life. The Gospel should be why you do what you do. It is the foundation. It is the base.

You cannot take the atoning work of Christ on the cross out of anything when it comes to your life or your world view. You cannot take the blood out of discipleship, morality, ministry, family, you name it. Maybe your church does great things with kids - fine. Maybe they are very creative and have good worship - good. But, do they center everything on the Gospel? It must be central. The Gospel is why we do anything (ministry, church, preschool, food pantry, etc). It is why we have anything (family, house, car, money, etc.). It is why we get up in the morning. It is why we shower and shave. It is why we plan to eat where we eat. It is why we live where we live. It is why we move where we move. It is central. It is the fuel that keeps Christians going and growing every day. It is not just what gets us in the door of Christianity only to leave it in the threshold to move on to deeper theological issues. It is not just the ignition or spark of the Christian life - it is the fuel that propels it!

We must make sure we are not, as Paul said, turning to a different Gospel - which is not really a Gospel at all. No matter who says "this is the Gospel, this is what Christianity is all about." He even said don't listen to me or to even an angel from heaven itself if they are are teaching you a wrong Gospel. The Gospel of Scripture must be the Gospel of today - active, launching us forward for His purposes. The finished work of Christ on the cross was simply that - finished. He said it was finished. We do not need to add anything to the Gospel or take anything away from it. We must rediscover what it truly is. What Jesus did to save us is that which sustains, supplies, and motivates us.

Church is not defined by us. The Gospel is not open to interpretation. The Christian life IS coming to Christ through the Gospel but letting the Gospel work through you EVERYDAY to make Him know to the world around you. The Gospel must be explicitly displayed in our lives, not assumed to be present by those around us.

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