Distorting the Gospel

There is such a thing as the distortion of the gospel (Galatians 1:6-10). It can be detected.

As long as we insist on defining ourselves based on our physical features, our economic status, our perceived political power or the lack thereof, our relationships with other human beings, or our standard of success in our activities and relationships in life, so that these become the controlling lens through which we interpret Jesus, we will distort his gospel. We might use all the right biblical and theological language to express what we believe in order to support what we are doing. By itself this does not mean we have arrived at an accurate understanding and implementation of the gospel and obedience to it. The Bible teaches us to think of all humans as creatures created in the image of God, male or female, who were originally created with knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and dominion over the other creatures, and yet fell from this condition by sinning against God. All humans are sinners in need of the power of God’s Holy Spirit to reveal to them that the Lord Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension is the only sufficient means of rescue from the penalty, power and presence of sin.

There is a reason for why non-Christians make a big deal about race, gender, marital status, sexual practices, financial status, and politics, etc., etc., etc. They do not have the biblical categories of creature created in the image of God, or sin, or righteousness, or justice, or holiness, or the church, or the kingdom of God, or any of the other categories that are essential to and defining features of biblical Christianity. Some of them might use the terms or phrases in the bible, but they do not use them to express biblical Christianity; they use them to railroad an agenda in the name of biblical Christianity. In part, this means that if we are not learning how the terminology in Scripture is used by the biblical writers we become easy prey to the false gospels that are declared around us.

The supernatural gospel of God’s supernatural kingdom is from above and comes down from above through God’s supernatural means of grace and brings a supernatural power that cannot be confined to or simply defined by what we humans have access to. To be focused on what we have access to on earth to enact a political and social agenda and call this Christianity and the bringing of God’s kingdom is to be like Esau who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.

If you call yourself a Christian, quit bellowing about your or anyone’s race, gender, political marginalization, economic status, perceived or real injustices suffered, sexual desires and fantasies, passions, gifts, abilities, or ministry. Yes, we are citizens in some sense in this world, but this citizenship is to be understood and utilized in the light of the more fundamental and glorious truth that our lasting and defining citizenship is in heaven and hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). You are going to harp about the injustices you have suffered in the light of the eternal Son of God’s persecutions and death on the cross?

When we sound just like all the non-Christians that surround us, this would be a clear indicator that we are conforming to the world and not being transformed by the renewal of our minds in and by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In that case it is difficult to see how what we are saying and doing is going to be of any help to anyone believing the gospel, experiencing salvation through it, and finding their life through sacrificial service that makes a huge deal about the King of kings and Lord of lords, and not us. It is also difficult to see how we then have any legitimate claim to the name “Christian.”

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