“Sweetening” the Gospel Won’t Save

Diluting the Gospel Damns

It is never fun when you have a child who is sick. The medicines used to be awful tasting but the ingredients were necessary for helping to cure the sickness. Today, many over-the-counter medicines are flavored; bubble-gum, cherry, grape, and orange flavored so that the children will not fight you in taking it. Thankfully, they have found a way to sweeten the medications and yet not diminish their curing properties. Unfortunately, many have attempted to alter the Biblical message of salvation in order to make it easier for the lost to swallow. The reality is the gospel cannot be “sweetened” to make it more palatable to sinners and yet maintain its saving properties.

Weakening Sin

Sin is an offensive word and so some want to call sin, mistakes, some have so weakened sin and its effects that mankind can be, by nature, and do things pleasing to God apart from Christ, the root problem of this line of thinking rejects the effects of the original sin passed down through Adam, some go even further and say that God does not send people to hell for their sin, that to believe God would send people to hell for telling some lies is more like the bloodthirsty ancient Greek gods

12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure (the NKJV reads exceedingly sinful). (Romans 7:12-13 ESV)

Removing Repentance

Cheap Grace was a term used by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a book, The Cost of Discipleship in 1937, “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

Those who remove repentance say there is no need to surrender to Christ as Lord, that you can continue living in sin but accept Christ as Savior. Literally some are teaching that you do not need to repent of sin for salvation, yet, what was Christ’s gospel message when preaching the gospel of God, “and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15 ESV)

Also, “Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mat 16:24 ESV)

Some will argue God called the Jews to repentance and faith but the gospel message to Gentiles was simply to have faith in Christ. However, this was not Paul’s gospel message was one and the same to Jew and Gentile. “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Act 20:21 ESV)

Another problem with Cheap Grace is that it denies the power of God making believers new creations, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16 ESV)

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom 8:11-13 ESV)

Multiplying Paths

From C.S. Lewis to Billy Graham to Rob Bell, we have the argument that God will accept people into His kingdom who did not know Christ but who sincerely followed other religions, even false religions. Lewis wrote, “I think that every prayer which is sincerely made even to a false god [...] is accepted by the true God and that Christ saves many who do not think they know Him” (Letters 247).

When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one goes to the Father but through me.”, in John 14:6, he was not indicating that people could get to Him through other religions. Paul makes it clear in Romans 10:13-17 that saving faith comes by hearing the gospel of Christ preached. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13,17 ESV)

The Biblical Gospel

The Biblical gospel that saves is that God sent Christ to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). We need to agree with God’s Word about our sin, that we already stand condemned in our sin and that we deserve His just punishment of everlasting torment in a place called hell (Mark 9:43-49). The good news is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God placed upon Him our sin and punished Him in our place so that by repentance of our sin and trusting in Christ, we are forgiven by God and declared righteous. (Isaiah 53)

The Reality is Scripture elevates our sin as exceedingly sinful, it doesn’t weaken it, it exalts God’s grace as having infinite value to us, it does not cheapen it. Scripture is quite clear that there is salvation only by grace alone, through faith alone, in none other than Jesus Christ alone, rather than multiple paths being available for our redemption. This is the gospel message we are to believe and also unashamedly proclaim to a world - not just sick in sin, but dead in their sin and in need of saving.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV)

Sola Gratia,

Pastor Chris

#Gospel #Compromise #BibilicalGospel

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