In a society where we focus on empowerment and encouragement, we can often lose sight of the true, full message and meaning of the Gospel. Don’t get me wrong. Encouragement and positivity has its place and I am all for it. Yet, the Gospel is so much more than that.
Between the prosperity gospel and other distortions of the Bible, we can often forget what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.
In our pursuit of positivity and encouragement, we can at times inadvertently treat the Bible as a self-help book. We look for specific passages that lift up our spirits, often “kidnapping” so to speak verses out of their context and discarding whatever does not suit our ideas and opinions. I’m not here to judge you, only to state a fact and call out the plague in our Christian community. I personally used to be guilty of this in the past. One day, I came face to face with the realization that approaching God and His Holy Word in this way will always leave me feeling empty to some degree and yearning for that void to be filled.
What’s more, I would hear these very same messages of positivity and encouragement from the church pulpit and at most women ministry conferences, retreats and conventions. While they were great at firing up all the women including me, that feeling or excitement would wear off in just a few short days. Later, I was confronted again with the reality that I live in a fallen world where sin is still very real. Therefore, we need more than just positive messages and messages of encouragement. We need truth.
Let me expand on the subject a little further. The messages that remind us about who we are in Christ, how loved we are, chosen children of God, co-heirs of a fabulous kingdom, redeemed and saved by grace are all true and wonderful. We often need to be reminded of those truths. Still, those messages do not reflect the entire Gospel and fail to remind us of our greatest need: our need for a Savior.
The truth is that we are all born and shaped in iniquity, separated and alienated from God because of sin. After all, since the first man created by God named Adam and the first woman Eve, sin has somewhat been passed down to us as if it were part of our DNA. Thanks be to God who in His awesome character and overwhelming love saw it fit to send His Son to live a perfect life in complete submission to Him and carry our sins and shame even unto death. Jesus shed His blood to atone for our sins. He died and then rose from the grave after three days to reconcile us to the Father forever, drawing us near to God and breaking off the shackles of sin from us. We deserved death as a penalty for our sins. If it had not been for Jesus, we would still be completely lost. Thanks be to God who so mercifully, lovingly and graciously could not bear to see us lost forever. After all, can a potter bear to see ruined the masterpiece he spent hours crafting and shaping? I’m grateful that the Master potter could not.
Every day, I see my flaws, my insecurities, and the sins that so easily beset me. I see when I fail to honor my mother as I lash out at her when I would not do it to others. I see when I lie even though I promised I wouldn’t. I see my billboard size pride when I fail to humble myself and cannot turn the other cheek to someone I consider to have wronged me. Oh there is so much more I could add to the list.
The truth is, when I observe how far I still remain from the mark, I am confronted with the reality that I still need my Savior. Even on my best days, I need Jesus and I’m guessing you must feel the same way too. Even though I know and believe that I am chosen and fearfully made, I still need Jesus in whom all my hope rests.
The Gospel, literally the good news, is that we have such a Savior already and His name is Jesus.
For the single person struggling in their loneliness, you still need Jesus.
For the young mother overwhelmed with the tasks of the day and raising children that still need all her attention and trying to keep it together, you need Jesus.
For the man fighting his own personal demons from his past and struggling to forgive himself, you need Jesus.
And for that person who has yet again repeated old mistakes, fallen into the same old temptation, you still need Jesus. We ALL need Jesus!
In these last days, as we await and look forward to the Lord’s second coming, may we all remember how much we still need Jesus every day even though we’re already saved. We are recipients of grace, victorious through Christ yet we make mistakes and need the Savior today as much as we did before being saved. We do not need more messages to tells us how great we are. I believe there’s already much of that out there. What we stand in need of is more of the Gospel, undefiled and pure to remind us how great God is and the enormous sacrifice and gift He extended to us through His Son’s death and resurrection.
So as we share the Gospel, let’s share all of it:
Yes, we are chosen!
Yes, we are recipients of grace and co-heir of the Kingdom of Heaven!
Yet, we live in a sin-afflicted world.
Thank God, Jesus overcame this world conquering the grave and now lives.
Thank God, we share in Christ’s victory!
Oh yes, we struggle but each struggle can be overcome as we surrender our lives, will and our hearts to the lover of our soul.
We are no longer slaves to sin but none of us are without sin.
We are still imperfect and we still need Jesus.
So to my dear pastors, fellow preachers, fellow teachers and ministry leaders, please stop giving us the Gospel in diluted portion but give us the Gospel, give us Jesus in all His glory and remind us why we still need a Savior to this day.