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Friday, March 15, 2013

All or Nothing Gospel

“But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing." So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.” (2 Samuel 24:24 NLT)

Many are being wooed away from the Old Testament altogether by the enticing words of man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4) reducing the multidimensional God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to a one dimensional God who consists only of pleasing aspects such as grace, peace, love, prosperity, and forgiveness without repentance. Such a god pleases the flesh because such an unrighteous deity requires nothing of the flesh. Such antiquated concepts as obedience fall by the wayside and are condemned by the new warm and fuzzy gospel best sellers with perfect hair. The new school theologians say that Jesus abolished the Law and therefore, today, the gospel is all about grace and nothing more. Coincidentally, it is common practice now to lead lost sheep to slaughter and simultaneously grow our own kingdom by selling millions of books to those we have successfully beguiled.

There is such a thing as a full gospel of Jesus Christ which begins with the Book of Genesis. The father of all lies grins with satisfaction every time orthodoxy is annulled. I will therefore gladly pay the price for orthodoxy and endure the ridicule. I will believe the truth of the entire canon of Scripture, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I know that God’s wrath and perfect judgment are every bit as holy as the love, grace, and mercy He sovereignly administers. He is not a god of man’s making. I will surrender to the chastening as well as to the goodness and the blessing. God is an infinite continuum of creative possibility. “Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33)

Inasmuch as tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are graceful, I concede that responsible exegesis of Scripture in conjunction with a prayerfully systematic examination of nature shall prove that sometimes God’s grace is most evident in His unfathomable justice. Repentance comes at a price. The chastening of the Lord is not fun (Hebrews 12:6). Perhaps this is why His love is so much more advantageous than the love we find in a Harlequin romance novel. I will not condemn the passages of Scripture my flesh disagrees with and I will not close my eyes when it rains simply because I prefer to go outside and play forever in the sunshine. A life of submission to God’s will is going to require a faith that survives the hard sayings (John 6:60) and the harsh realities of life, embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly business of picking up my cross daily and following Jesus (Luke 9:23), who, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Can my eyes be so fixed upon Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith that I can ignore each new fad and fashionable gospel that blows in on ever new winds of doctrine?

Grace on a silver platter and a bowl of cherries happily ever after is not what the whole counsel of God’s Word illustrates. There is a cost for right relationship with God. The cost is the sum total of repentance which entails brokenness (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 51:17), submission which involves loving obedience to God’s Word (John 14:15), and perseverance in steadfast love which equals freedom (John 8:31-32). “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16) All means all, not half. The whole roll (Ezekiel 3:1-3) may be tight. However, it is the whole roll and not merely part which is right. The new gospels, other gospels as Paul labeled them (2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:8-9) sound appealing because they allow us to reign instead of Christ. This is humanism of the highest world order. Don’t stake your eternal destiny upon perfect hair, a professional stage and light show, and a best-selling book. That 2003 comedy starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell was onto something. Sometimes old school really is the best school.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are personal journal entries of Brian Hunter and are in no way endorsed by any church, fellowship, or ministry with which Brian Hunter is affiliated officially or unofficially. The author has not sought to place any argument or opinion above God's (Romans 3:4). Peaceful discourse is only possible where the fruit of the Spirit resides. Thereby is doctrine proven to be sound and God, who is peace, is lovingly glorified. 

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

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