Last week I posted a blog about why I dislike people quoting Romans 3:23 out of context.
The fact that we have all memorised this verse and not the next verse should be alarming.
It amazed me was how many people left comments trying to argue that we need to tell people about their sins and that they are going to Hell.
To me, this highlights a much deeper problem in Christianity.
It is one that permeates every area of our lives.
We think Jesus came to save us from sin.
But He didn’t.
Now hear me right – He did save us from our sins. He did away with all sin, past, present and future for all mankind once and for all.
That was not His goal. It was merely a stepping stone to His ultimate purpose.
He didn’t come to save us from sin or from Hell. He came to bring us into relationship with God.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)
The problem we’re creating
Focusing on a gospel that stops us from sinning or gets us out of Hell has some drastically negative repercussions:
If we believe Jesus came to save us from sin we first need to convince people they are sinners before they can be saved. (as a side – what makes this harder is they are often much better people than the Christians telling them this!)
If we believe Jesus came to save us from Hell we need to first convince people they are going there.
However – when we believe Jesus came to bring us into relationship with the Father all we have to do is tell people the good news:
“God loves you and wants to have relationship with you. He’s done everything needed through His Son, Jesus Christ to make this possible. Do you want that?”
It’s not about how messed up they are – it’s about how good God is!
Does Jesus save you from your sins? Yes.
Does Jesus save you from Hell? Yes.
But those are byproducts of Him bringing you into relationship. They are not the core message of the Gospel.
When we make the cross about the peripheral things (sin & hell) we distort the message of the Gospel we preach.
Let’s focus on the main thing!
Did you know in the 19 sermons in Acts not one promises Heaven or warns of a future Hell.
That’s pretty crazy! We’d consider the Apostles to be terrible evangelists by today’s standards!
Are these things a reality?
Of course! But…
We don’t need to preach bad news for the good news to be effective!
The light exists regardless of darkness.
You don’t need a Hell to want to live in Heaven for eternity!
Let’s stop being so fixated with darkness, sin and Hell!
We need to re-centre the Gospel we are preaching around relationship with God.
If we do, everything else will take care of itself when we do.
Including our evangelism.
What about you?
When salvation revolves around sin rather than around relationship it has way more knock-on effects than the ones I’ve described above.
So what are some of the ways you can see this has affected you in the past?