In Part 1 the main focus of the traditional gospel message was explained – the gospel revolves around man’s sin/Adam’s fall. I call it the ‘Fallen Man Gospel’. The traditional gospel sets up many believers for negative consequences.
I see five harmful consequences that come out of the sin focused gospel. Today I will cover three of them.
1. Guilt and Fear Rule
Since the traditional gospel emphasizes you are a sinner and in need of a Savior, this sure stirs the internal pot of guilt, condemnation, and shame. Then fear is stirred up because of the prospect of going to hell, if you don’t ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus to be your Savior. For some fear can continue to hang around with thoughts of, “What if I blow it big time with God?”
The word says His perfect love casts out fear (1Jn 4:18), yet so many Christians still struggle with fear – fear of God Himself, fear of failure, fear of disappointing God, fear of rejection. Could it be the Fallen Man Gospel gives a distorted message of His love?
Even though the traditional gospel message preaches how much God loves you, there will be this sense that ‘you are less than’ until you get cleaned up. And if you ever get ‘dirty’ again, then you are back to being ‘less than’.
This is not to say that some will experience a wonderful sense of ‘cleansing’ when encountering Jesus for the first time. Unfortunately, despite this cleansing, a not quite measuring up will linger or resurface in many a Christian’s life. This should not be if we truly understood the fullness of the Good News.
2. Sin Consciousness Encourages Judging and Favoritism
The traditional evangelistic gospel encourages judging and favoritism by other believers. The sin focus sets us up to itemize and determine which are the worst sins or failures. This helps believers to judge each other by their behavior/sin and determine their relationship with God by it. This kind of judging can also set up favoritism among the brethren.
Then there is judgment on unbelievers. The sin conscious gospel helps some believers to conclude that those who do the ‘worse sins’ will not be saved. Since we tend to side with the used and abused victims, the perpetrators get little or no compassion. In fact, some believers think that those who do horrendous violence or harm to others, surely go to hell. Then there are those sinners who squander their lives in wantonness and selfishness – shaky ground for them. And of course those who never repent of their sins definitely do not go to heaven. So goes the judging and favoritism that unfolds for those who adhere to the Fallen Man Gospel.
But you know what?! Those who do this kind of judging and partiality cannot be judged either! We must remember they are ignorant of the truth of the pure gospel. They are simply deceived and swallowed up in traditional doctrine and its negative consequences. They are consequently set up to judge others and even themselves. Satan loves it, but God is faithful to set them free.
3. Perpetuates the System and Expectations
The traditional Fallen Man Gospel keeps the religious church system going. When the emphasis is on neediness and shortcomings, then saved sinners (or yet to be saved attendees) need to hear messages (AKA sermons) on to how to continue to clean up their lives, become more effective Christians, and of course please God. Along with these messages will be many activities that believers should do. These help keep them involved in the system, but never coming into their true identity in Christ.
Isn’t it interesting that most believers, in spite of good preaching and hearing the ‘Good News’, will at some point in their lives experience – striving, doubt, confusion, times of dryness, apathy, depression, disappointment, weariness, frustration, burnout, failure, and of course fear and guilt in their relationship with God. Been there, done all that!
Horror of horrors, if they were ever to leave the system because of any of the above, then their very salvation could be at risk, so goes the inference from Churchianity.
In addition, the religious system releases a gnawing guilt that will hound those who leave the structure. Hmm, is there a ‘pre-guilt’ and ‘post-guilt’ at work among the brethren who receive the traditional good news?
Do you realize there is no guilt in grace, but there is guilt involved in law? “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”(James 2:10)
So, if you struggle with guilt, just know you are living under the law. Don’t be that guy! If guilt is directed your way by others or by the system, just know they are bound up in law and deceived. Don’t accept it!
What It Is Not and What It Is
In Christ Jesus there is no guilt, no fear, no judgment, no favoritism, no expectations, no sin, no works, no laws.
In Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is unconditional acceptance, utter delight over you, unspeakable joy, union, unconditional love, assurance, security, certainty, peace beyond understanding, free to love and be loved, free to know and be known, free to give and receive, free to be who He really made you to be. Now we’re getting to the truth! Oh the glories of the pure Good News!
- The Fallen Man Gospel is not really good news. It’s message does not allow you to be who you really are.
- If you have succumbed to any of the above negative consequences please know there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to be stuck or caught up in them. Remember, He came to set you free!
- God knows who we really are, and His Good News shouts that out.
Part 3 will look at two other negative consequences of the Fallen Man Gospel.