A little over a week ago there was a “evangelistic” ministry in town. The group is called Pinpoint Evangelism. Their goal supposedly is to preach the gospel. They were at an intersection near Berea College. For those who may not know Berea College leans very far to the left and is very liberal, but I would say it is probably no different than many liberal arts colleges around the nation.
I must confess that I did not personally witness anything this group said or did. I have heard from others that nothing but hate was spewed from the mouths of those who were representing this group. I did however check out their website just to see what was up with them. I will let you search for them for the link. As I looked at the website I was on the verge of tears.
To be honest there are many things I could write about based on the website. If they believe as their website states I would encourage these people to come to Christ because at the moment they are believing an un-biblical gospel.
But that is not my focus here. Here I would like to focus on the gospel. They misunderstand the gospel of grace. They claim to believe the gospel but the gospel they believe has not humbled them. They claim to bring a gospel of repentance, but they really bring a gospel of judgment. John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus did come and preach a message of repentance. Jesus in John 3 is talking to Nicodemus. He does not say to Nicodemus you are going to be judged, but rather he tells him he must be born again. There must be a change, but the point is that we can not make ourselves be born again. We must be born of God.
Being born again is a gift of God’s grace. Literally being born from above is something only God can do. When Jesus told Nicodemus this is was not a command. He was saying this must happen. But it can only happen if the grace of God intervenes. The main point is regeneration is all a work of God that is done because God is gracious. If God were not gracious this would never happen.
As believers we are to obey the Great Commission. Jesus commands in Mark 16 to go and preach the gospel. The dominant characteristic of the gospel is God’s grace. What is the gospel though? To begin with the gospel does not start with us. If we begin with man in the gospel no matter what spin we put on it whether it be that man is awful and judgment is coming, or if it be that we are worth dying for we have missed the mark. The gospel must always start with God. The gospel is God serving us not us serving God. The gospel has everything to do with what God has done and nothing about what we have done or could have done.
The God who acts in the gospel is a holy God. HE is completely holy. First John 1:5 literally reads that God is light and in Him darkness no is none. Stressing the point that God is completely and utterly holy and there is no sin in Him. In fact there is only one thing that is impossible for God to do and that is sin. God has set a standard where by if man wants to have a relationship with Him they must meet. In order to be a child of God you must be holy as He is holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Here in lies the problem for man. All have sinned. Not only that but in our natural state the only thing we can do is sin (see Psalm 51:5). Because we are sinful we can not be right with God. What is man to do? Where shall we find a way of escape? The problem we encounter is that if God is holy sin must be dealt with. If anyone is to be made right with God then the sin that keeps them from God must be vanquished.
God is a holy God but He is also a gracious God. God acted. This is the gospel. God acted. We read Romans 3:25 and see that God put forward as a propitiation by His blood to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forebearance He passed over former sins. The question is what did God put forward? The answer is found in verse 24. But the answer is not so much what as who. He put forward Jesus Christ.
We see two things here. First we see that God is righteous. Because God is righteous He must punish sin, which satisfies His wrath. Secondly we see that God put forward Jesus as a propitiation. This is not a common word we use everyday. A propitiation is an appeasement. What exactly was appeased? The wrath of God was appeased for those who come to Christ by grace through faith. For the Christian Christ has paid the penalty and made a way for them to be made right with God. It is all about Christ and what He has done.
This was all done from God’s grace. So many, including Pinpoint mentioned earlier, bring a gospel of wrath and not a gospel of grace. One author I read recently said at this time in history we live in the kingdom of the gospel (referring to the kingdom of God). The biblical gospel brings grace, it does show there is wrath, but the emphasis is upon the grace of God and what HE has done. At the present time the Christians job is to bring this Gospel of grace. Grace is a powerful thing, but it is only powerful because of the God who bestows this grace.
Grace is getting what we do not deserve. I do not deserve grace. I am no better than anyone. I am a sinner. My sin is just as heinous before God as anyone’s sin. Sin is sin. It does not matter what the sin is. My lying is just as bad as someone cheating on their spouse. My being lazy at work is just as bad as someone murdering someone. But I am no longer just a sinner. I am a sinner saved by grace. My identity has been changed because of what God has done through Christ. When God the Father looks at me he no longer sees my sin. He sees Christ. He sees the righteousness of Christ.
I am a new creature. My sin has been dealt with. The wrath that I deserve has been paid and I am now a recipient of God’s grace through Christ. I did not receive grace because of anything I did myself. It is all because of Christ. Christ obeyed the law of God perfectly. He lived a sinless life. He was the only who could do what He did. He was worthy because HE was fully God and fully man. He was the perfect spotless lamb of God who takes away sin.
This is the gospel we see revealed in the Bible. It is not a gospel of hate but a gospel of grace. The gospel is all about what God has done for us through His grace. The gospel is for all people. No matter what background you come from. No matter how good or bad you may think you are. The gospel must be accepted in faith. Those who have faith in Christ are those whom God justifies because of the work Christ has done and NOTHING about what we have done.
As Christians we must make of utmost importance that when we obey the great commission we bring the gospel we see in scripture. The gospel is offensive because it brings man down and lifts the work of God up. But this is where we must be. It is in this place that God moves. In this place God’s grace is magnified. The message will offend enough. Our actions and how we present it should not cause needless offense. If people hate Christ more, because of what we have done, than they did before then we have failed (See First Peter 2 and 3).
The gospel is a gospel of grace. This being the case we must be sure that we present it with grace. The gospel is God breaking into this world by sending Jesus Christ to pave the way for man to be made right with Him. This is all an act of His grace. This my friends is truly good news.