What is the gospel message?
What would you say? Before reading further, please take a moment to give it some thought.
Here’s my summary of what I was taught and believed to be the Gospel (AKA Good News):
- Man is a sinner thus separated and distanced from God
- Man needs to be saved from his sins
- Man needs forgiveness for his sins
- God loves you and sent Jesus to die for your sins and be your Savior
- You need to ask God for forgiveness of your sins in order to be saved
- When you repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you, then Jesus will cleanse you of your sins
- Result – you are reconciled to God and are assured of going to heaven (not hell)
- Now that you are saved there will be things you should do and will want to do (that show God you love Him and will serve Him)
- go to church regularly
- pray faithfully
- worship (in church and privately)
- give tithes and offerings
- read the Bible and go to Bible studies
- be part of a small group at church (for fellowship and growth)
- repent when you sin and get forgiven some more
- tell others about Jesus so they can get saved too
Traditional Gospel Focus
The Gospel, traditionally preached, focuses on sinful ‘fallen man’, separation, and distance (from God).
The religious gospel summary says that even though Jesus died for sin, mankind is still sinful – whether you are saved or not. Hmm, looks like an unending disappointing cycle of never quite being right with God. Does that mean Jesus wasn’t enough to deal with our sin problem? Does He need us to help Him out or finish completing something that He started?
The “Fallen Man Gospel” (as I now call it) has been my understanding of the gospel for six decades! Sure I knew that Jesus loved me, but there were a few subtle thoughts over the years that challenged that surety. For example – ‘God will love me more if I…’, ‘what if I really blow it…’, ‘there must be something I can do for God…’, ‘what can I do to get more of God so that…’
Because the traditional gospel is sin focused it compounds and enhances uncertainty in life and in one’s relationship with God. With us living in such a world of uncertainty, you would think ‘good news’ Christians would be the most certain people around. Not so much.
The Accuser of the Brethren
Since traditional evangelism points out sin in order to get God’s love across, and since Satan loves to point out faults and shortcomings, is it possible that the Church/religious Christianity is unknowingly in cahoots with the accuser of the brethren? Why I never!? Who do you think you are aligning Christian evangelism with Satan?!
Let’s remember the enemy hates us because we are made in God’s image. He does everything he can to put us down and keep us from knowing who we really are. Sadly, the sin focused gospel message uses a negative emphasis (sin) to get to a positive outcome (God’s love), and yet continues the negative part continues to be part of the ‘walk’.
Anything negative about man is accusatory. God would NEVER be negative or accusatory about mankind, because He knows who we really are. He really likes what He made in His image. Actually, His wonderful complete conclusion of us began before the foundation of the world! God has never changed His opinion of us, even in spite of sin. We will explore this truth of who we really are in upcoming posts.
It is out of ignorance that those who preach the fallen man evangelistic message are helping the enemy to continue to deceive mankind. By the way, the enemy loves ignorance and takes advantage of it in us! But God does not condemn ignorance. (Pr 24:12 1Tim 1:13)
The Power of Tradition
Obviously those who preach the traditional evangelistic gospel really care about people and want to see them saved. They are simply saying what has been handed down to them, and in turn passing this tradition on. However, this traditional gospel ties in with that traditions stuff that Jesus came against. (Mk 7:1-13)
Status Quo versus God’s Fullness
I never would have seen these things if not for God’s divine set up with certain people, books, and teachings. Then there was searching the scripture to see if this is true, much pondering, many questions, and then the wonderful quickening of the Holy Spirit. It resulted in many a “Oh my goodness!”, and overflowing gratitude. Why I have never heard this before in all my years of church is astounding to me, because the pure Good News is incredible good news! And yet I see why -hence Part One and Two (next post).
I hope you will seriously consider this challenge and exposure of the status quo gospel which falls so short of declaring the fullness we have all received. (Jn 1:16)
- If the gospel you heard ever results in requirements, insecurity of your salvation, feeling distance from God, resurfacing guilt or fear – then you have not heard the real Good News.
- Tradition has such a powerful influence on our lives. It is based on assumption that whatever has been passed down ‘is so’. Caution.
- The fallen man gospel proclaims you are a sinner saved by grace. Do you know that is not even New Covenant?
In Part 2 I will share what I believe are negative consequences of a sin based/ fallen man focused gospel.