I was told today, “We should be able to be safe when we’re sharing the Gospel.”
This has crept into our Americanized version of Christianity. It’s a prosperity gospel of a different sort. God owes us nothing. Not riches, not success, not safety.
The Gospel is not complicated. God created us to have a deep, personal, eternal relationship with Him. But we have all sinned…we have fallen short of the perfection that He is, so that relationship is broken. The penalty for that sin is separation from Him, which brings death, now and eternal. God’s plan was a plan of redemption. Redemption is simply getting something of value out of something worthless. God traded Himself for us. God, in the form of the man Jesus, traded his perfection for our imperfection. We have nothing of value to offer God, but He still gave us the most valuable thing He had to offer. Himself.
That’s the price of the Gospel. God set the standard for the value of the Gospel. The price of the Gospel is everything. There was no “safety” for God. There was no “security.” It’s all or nothing…there is no in-between.
God is worthy of our praise for more reasons than any human has ever been able to think of. There are aspects of God that our tiny little human imaginations can’t comprehend. The Gospel doesn’t exist FOR God’s glory. It exists BECAUSE of God’s glory. God’s glory would be unfathomable without the Gospel…He doesn’t need it to be proclaimed to get glory, it is proclaimed BECAUSE He is glorious.
But we so often trade in this all-encompassing, all-costing Gospel for a cheap imitation. Some budget-version Gospel that we try to hock from the cozy confines of our infomercial studio hoping that someone out there is just bored enough to watch our late night, low cost show.
Don’t think I exclude myself from this…I don’t. I’m in that boat. Heck, I may be driving the boat. And it’s ridiculous. Last summer I sat on the side of a mountain looking out over the plains towards Mosul, Iraq, which is the ancient city of Nineveh and the words from the end of Jonah came to my mind:
I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God,slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.You are eager to turn back from destroying people.
I’m so thankful for that. Because He has shown me such great patience. He has shown me such unfailing love. That’s the Gospel. And it’s time I start living like it.