No Fluff Gospel
What is the Gospel? One of the worst things about fluff at church is the way it obscures the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gospel means “good news.” In the New Testament, the first four books are called “the Gospels” because they tell us the good news about Jesus Christ. In summary, the Gospel is that Jesus Christ came into the world to die, to be buried, and to rise again in order that He might establish a kingdom of righteousness in this world of sin. The problem with the fluff church is that they don’t want to say as much as Jesus does about sin and its consequences. That is understandable because it is an extremely negative message. Who wants to go around proclaiming a negative message?
But the truth is that to get to the good news, we must first face the bad news about sin. We must understand that although our first parents were righteous when God created them, it was not long until they rebelled, rejecting God as their God. The result was that this world was plunged into sin and condemnation. We are alienated from God and under His wrath and curse, destined to be cast into Hell forever. Jesus referred to Hell as the place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Like I said, it is a negative message.
But that is why it is such wonderful news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this sinful world to establish a kingdom of righteousness! Here is a kingdom filled with people who are taken out of this sinful world to be righteous. The members of this kingdom are completely pardoned and are reconciled to God and promised that when God is finished with them, they will be completely without sin!
To establish this kingdom, Jesus had to come into this world as one of us, born of our substance, that He might represent us before the Father and save us from our sins. Because all the people who are gathered into His kingdom are sinful, guilty, and condemned, the whole kingdom is worthy to be condemned with the rest of the world. But that is where the death of Jesus comes into the picture. God sent Jesus to the cross to bear the punishment and the condemnation for the whole kingdom, and because of His great love for us, Jesus willingly did this. And the Father fully accepted the death of Jesus for His people’s sins. By raising Him from the dead, He declared that all those who enter His kingdom are fully pardoned. That is good news indeed!
But how are they brought into this kingdom? Jesus is the One who brings them in. Even before He came, He had gathered Israel into His kingdom, but after He had secured pardon for His kingdom on the cross, He began to gather people from all the nations of the earth. To do this, He poured out His Holy Spirit who works in them to open their eyes so that they see how much they need to be forgiven and how much they need new life from Jesus. The Spirit changes them so that they come looking to Jesus for forgiveness and new life through His death. As soon as they come, He receives them. Right away, they are completely forgiven and begin to serve God as their God. The Holy Spirit continues to work in them to help them overcome sin. They will not be perfected in this life by any means, but they will grow and they will be kept and they will never be condemned. And then when they leave this life, they will be completely perfected so as never to sin again that they might inherit the renewed earth and live with Jesus forever.
This is the gospel! Do you see your need of forgiveness and of new life? The offer is wide open. Come to Jesus, looking to Him and His death for complete pardon and for new life and He will receive you and you will not be condemned with the rest of the world.