Monday, June 9, 2008

Comfort gospel?

Are people supposed to be comfortable with the gospel? I think this is a common misconception in the church today. People go out with the idea that they should make the gospel a warm and fuzzy thing. They present it as a way to make life on this earth better. "You will have a happy, fulfilled, joyful life if you ask Jesus into your heart," is a popular way of presenting it. But all you have to do is look at the persecuted church in places like China and some Islamic countries to see that isn't the case.

We aren't supposed to come to Christ because we could become happy. Don't get me wrong, happiness and inner joy and inner fulfillment are a result of becoming a Christian, but that isn't the reason Christ came and suffered and died on the cross. Jesus said "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) We have broken God's law. As a holy and just and loving God He must punish us for that. But also being a merciful and loving God, He has provided the way of salvation. Jesus was sent to pay our penalty. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

I am always just dumbfounded when I think about this. God came down from heaven, became a man, and then lived a sinless life. Then he was brutally executed for our ugly, hideous sins! "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

My point here is not to tell everyone that shoving the gospel down people's throats in a "fire-and-brimstone" manner is how to do it. This is also not saying that our lives will definitely be awful either. But, life may not be always be super happy as a Christian. You may be chastised, persecuted, tortured, or killed. Remember, 11 out of 12 of the original apostles were martyred for their beliefs.

There's a somewhat contemporary saying that accompanies pictures of Jesus sometimes. Even though it is not in the Bible, I believe it sums it up pretty good. "He never said it was going to be easy, He just said it would be worth it."

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