ell, repentance, wrath, sin, the blood of Jesus,
justification by faith alone, Jesus is the only waythese are words and phrases
which do not often receive a warm or ready reception in todays politically
correct world of religious ideas.
Religion, as it is often conceived in the minds of much of the world, is
here to make us feel good. To feel good about the world around us, about
ourselves andmost of allabout God and our relationship to Him. Please dont
raise issues which make us feel uncomfortable or leave us without a warm fuzzy
feeling, much of the world might say. After all, God made us and, if we have
faults and shortcomings, then surely He must understand and forgive us.
But the gospel has a different storyline. It is
the narrative of a loving and righteous Goda God who made and created us in His
imageto be holy and righteous as He is! And the story goes that in spite of all
of Gods goodness to man, man chose, nonetheless, to disobey God. The choice was
taken to believe Satans lie and in effect to call God less than honorable while
partaking of the tree of knowledgethe knowledge of good and evil. Man
subsequently fell. Sin and all its consequences entered the world leading to
confusion, suffering and the most terrible result of all separation from
If there is sin, rebellion and compromise, these factors certainly cannot be
blamed on the Almighty. In fact, while we might be tempted to believe well, we
are only human and use that as an excuse for our sinfulness, that phrase
becomes in fact our condemnation. God created Adam morally perfect, and that is
the standard by which He holds us accountable. Jesus Himself was not mincing
words when He said, Be perfect,
therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
The gospel in its biblical form, is often initially bad news for the 21st
century citizen of our planet. It reminds each person of his or her moral
failings and of the fact that a righteous God will hold us responsible for all
our thoughts, words and deeds.
Also, the gospel is offensive because it reminds us
that we cannot save ourselves. Instead, what is needed is trust in Gods mercy
through Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross. Mans pride is leveled,
because, as one hymn writer put it when speaking of coming to God: Nothing in
my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling. In actual fact, when we approach
God, any attitude of self-justification or self-righteousness would obviously
be repugnant to Him who understands all that there is to know about us and
knows how far we have strayed from His truth and His way.
Is the gospel offensive? You bet it is! It confronts and challenges moral
relativism, human pride and self-righteousness and strikes deep at the
broad-minded tolerance that attempts to argue that any old religion will work.
It grates against the notion that the final judgment will issue in Gods olly
olly, all in free for all the world. Instead, the cross of Jesus stands alone
as the way to God, because it alone provides for the atonement for sin. It was
there that God allowed Jesus who had no
sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
Offensive? Yes, to the natural man. But the gospel works! It does forgive
sin, it opens the doors of heaven and brings everyone who comes to Jesus into a
personal saving relationship with God. Therefore it is rightly called Gods
powerliterally His dynamite (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Phil Roberts provides insights into
theology and spirituality in todays culture.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC