Why the Gospel of Jesus Christ Offends Me (and Should Offend You, Too)
I have spent the vast majority of my life being reminded of the kindness, compassion, gentleness, and great love of Jesus. There are certain verses in the Bible that I can recite backward and forward because I've heard and read them so often in sermons and devotions. Today's Church has worked hard to push forward the all-sacrificing, benevolent, and inclusive aspects of Jesus Christ.
At the same time, the secular world around us continues to redefine words like "offense" and "violence." Tolerance is no longer the goal. Common sense phrases like "You do you and I'll do me" and "agree to disagree" are rejected. The secular progressive agenda determines what actions and phrases are "compassionate" and we must comply in the manner of their choosing or we are labeled as divisive and hateful.
Christians have backed up and backed down to the point where they are allowing themselves to be pinned in a tight spot. If Jesus is compassionate and loving and the world tells us that only complete and total acceptance, celebration and inclusion of all ideals is compassionate and loving and anything and everything else is hate and violence, then what are we to do? This quandary is leading to what I call a Mary Poppins faith - just a spoon full of sugar makes the Gospel go down. Except there's more sugar than Gospel in each bite.
The radical idea that has been churning in my mind and heart for a while now is that maybe it's time for the church to admit the truth: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive.
"Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14:6
"For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9,10
Even verses that seem light and fluffy:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
We often stop at the great love that's displayed in this verse, but if you read between the lines, you can also see that this great sacrifice was made BECAUSE there is no other way for us to be saved! Jesus was sacrificed because Jesus and Jesus alone can save us. Period.
Why is the Gospel so offensive to me? Because there is a God and I. AM. NOT. IT.
And neither are you.
And if I am not God and you are not God, then what we think and what we want and what makes us feel good and what makes us happy isn't the end goal in life!
What the world tells us is "good" and "compassionate" and "loving" and "peaceful" doesn't mean a thing and pursuing those things doesn't do us a lick of good! Every single thing on this earth must bend it's knee to Jesus. Everything on this earth WILL bend it's knee to Jesus.
The question is, will I choose to bend my knee here and now? In the everyday, will I bend my knee and conform my will to his?
"Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Proverbs 3:6
If I call myself a Christ-follower and neglect to follow him, I'm deceiving myself. I'm a hypocrite. Everything in this world - no matter how wise and loving it may appear and no matter how smoothly it goes down- must be viewed through the lens of the Gospel. It must align with the Great I AM because he is God and we are not.
The faster Christians embrace the truth of an offensive Gospel, the better off we'll be. We can stop this senseless pandering, draw our line in the sand, hold our banner high, and be the "city on a hill."
I'm often offended by the Gospel and I hope that never changes as long as I'm on this earth. Lack of offense on my part would probably mean that I've switched out the Gospel for something that is a hollow representation. I wish my faith always made me feel good, but until there's no more sin in me to be confronted, I'm guessing that won't be be the case.