I read many blogs and news sites. Political, conservative, liberal, theological, atheist, science, and more. It’s important to be well-rounded and consider ideas from different views you might not have considered before. In doing so, I discover a lot of rather strange stuff, really off-the-wall tin-foil hat kinds of things.
I’ve seen comments about telling people they’re sinners isn’t part of the gospel. Let’s just looooove each other, and be tolerant of alternative lifestyles — hey brother, I’m glad that heroin thing is working for you — as if you can’t love someone unless you accept and promote whatever they’re doing (even if it causes their death, earthly and eternally).
If someone is on the train tracks, I’ll use whatever means necessary to get them off to safety, and worry about “offending” them later. I’m not going to accept standing on the train tracks as a healthy and correct lifestyle — they’ll die.
What is the Gospel?
Fortunately it’s not hard to understand the Gospel, and it’s not open for discussion of alternate definitions. It’s a matter of undeniable fact.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand (1 Corinthians 15:1 NKJV)
Okay, so nobody can argue, Paul tells you what he’s going to tell you — the Gospel.
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV)
If someone says telling people they’re sinners in need of a savior isn’t the Gospel, they’re placing themselves above Paul — move over Paul, you’re wrong and I’m going to fix your mistake.
The Gospel remains simple:
- Man is a sinner.
- Christ died for our sins.
- Christ rose again.
All other feel-good ideas are not the gospel, and take away from it.
Even more, Jesus’ life can not save you.
What? Neither can His miracles, teaching, or example. If the church wastes time on feel-good ideas, you’re insuring hell will be well-populated.
It’s vital for people to understand they’re sinners, and only one way exists for the penalty that sin requires to be paid — Christ’s atoning death on the cross.
Attack of the Heretics
If someone tries to re-define the Gospel to something else, they’re heretics — meaning at odds with established doctrine (i.e. Paul).
It might be popular today to add fads like social justice, good works, potlucks, and so on, but they are not the gospel.
That’s not my idea, it’s Paul’s.
Paul also includes a warning about those who appear and attempt to change definitions of the Gospel. After all, if you don’t have the atoning death of Christ, you’re filling the corners of hell.
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. (Galatians 1:6–9 NLT)
What Gospel did Paul preach? Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He rose again the third day.
I Will Not Shut Up
I know the preceding bothers some people. I understand. But we must move away from worrying about not feeling good, and get back on the solid rock of God’s Word. Substituting a phony gospel for the real is not a good idea.
Paul warned people would appear who deliberately twist the truth, and since the Gospel is so clearly defined, it’s hard to believe their efforts aren’t intentional.
… Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. (Ezekiel 3:17–18 NLT)
I don’t want to be guilty of failing to warn about heretical substitute gospels, especially since the Gospel is so perfectly and obviously stated by Paul — it’s not even close to a gray area.
People don’t like to hear the truth; they would rather feel good about being deceived.
It’s time to upset the apple cart — absolute truth exists. Paul defined the Gospel. Other substitutes are heresy. Truth doesn’t change, doesn’t need to be “moderinized” or transformed for today’s culture.
If you get the Gospel right, everything follows. Get it wrong, and it’s likely everything else will be wrong as well.