Obviously, there are more than ten ways that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused. Sadly, as long as the Church is militant, that is, in this life until Christ’s return, she will still remain under assault from the devil, the world and our sinful nature. Therefore, we can expect nothing less than errors, heresies and conflict both from without and from within the visible Christian church, which are both lamentable and grievous.
Even so, and in spite of these villains, our Lord Jesus Christ has promised that His Word will remain (Isaiah 55:10-11), that He will never leave nor forsake His Bride, the Church (Matthew 28:20, Psalm 94:14, Ephesians 5) and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her (Matthew 16:18). Accordingly, our Lord warns us to beware of false teachers (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11) who, by deceitful and errors of the Word of the Lord will try and deceive good Christian people in every place. Therefore, as God’s holy people (1 Peter 2) we are encouraged by the prophets and apostles to likewise speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), declare the Good News (Luke 24:47), and teach the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 2:13) so that we might speak of our common salvation and contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
With that in mind, we examine the top ten ways that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused. The Gospel is abused, misused and confused:
- 10. …when it is presented as one of several possible ways to heaven.
- 9. …when, after delivering a sermon or Bible study on the forgiveness of sins purchased and won for us by Christ Crucified, the forgiven sinners are returned to the threats of the Law (also known as the Law-Gospel-Law Sandwich).
- 8. …when it is proclaimed that Christ only died for the elect and when God’s sovereignty is declared over and above His mercy.
- 7. …when people are told that their sins are forgiven in the Name of Jesus, if and when they make a decision to invite Him into their hearts (watch out for backsliders).
- 6. …when satisfaction, merit, worthiness, or any involvement of the human will are included or allowed as pre-conditions for receiving the free gift of salvation in Christ.
- 5. …when social statements, public declarations of churches, denominational rulings or other such statements of man contradict the clear teachings of Scripture and the Christian faith.
- 4. …when it is declared as positive thinking, purpose-driven living, prosperity and success, a personal self-esteem builder, and people who are in need of forgiveness are rather directed to their own struggle, wrestling, prayer and positive attitude for assurance of salvation.
- 3. …when hearers are directed inward to their thoughts and feelings to find hope, comfort, consolation and the promise of salvation.
- 2. …when it does not predominate in the study and preaching of God’s Word.
And the number one way that the Gospel is abused, misused and confused is…
- 1. …when the Gospel is left undefined, assumed and unspoken.
Perhaps you have heard similar statements to the ones just listed. A list like this encourages us to think critically and Biblically about what we hear, read, watch and take to heart.
But it’s not all bad news. Even though we cry out with disciples, “Lord, who then can be saved?”, our Lord says in return: “With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:26-27).” By His water and word, body and blood, He turns sinners into saints, the dead into living and those condemned by the Law into those who are declared righteous in His sight through the free gift of salvation won for us in Christ on the Cross. In His Gospel – Christ Crucified for our sins – we live and move and have our being, now and forevermore.