Today I watched a video called "The True Gospel" and it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7X24_vOWwU&feature=youtu.be. It is quite lengthy (nearly an hour and a half), but really gets at the core of why so many Christians and churches in America are not seeing the power of God being lived out in their lives. Admittedly, this was a very hard video for me to watch personally. After all, it was years ago that I had made a decision to follow Christ and my temptation is to rest on the merits of that decision rather than on the cross of Jesus. As I was clearly reminded of, once again, that our salvation is not about the decision we make or by following the Roman road or the four spiritual laws our about our even going forward. That is the easy part. The truth is that we are condemned to God's wrath because God is holy. God is just and He hates sin. He hates our rebelliousness and our self-centeredness. He hates the idolatry that exists within us and the only just thing to do is to eradicate it once and for all. We are rightfully objects of His wrath. Sometimes, when things don't go my way I question the fairness of God. But, if I think about it, do I want God to be fair? My thoughts and my actions clearly are vile and deserve the wrath of God. Justice must be served.
Which brings us to grace. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. This is more than a slogan to put on a pillow or as a memory verse. This is the ultimate act of justice. The filth of my sin being placed on the one who is fully God and fully man. When Jesus asked in the Garden of Gethsemane to have the cup removed from him, he was not asking to remove the possibility of facing a wooden cross. After all, those who followed him in the years to come would experience executions that were equally as torturous as his. Some would be hung upside down on cross covered with tar and be set on fire. Others would be sawn in two and others would be fed to the lions. If Jesus was merely asking that the cup of the cross be removed, he would be no more heroic than those who followed him. The cup that Jesus asked to be removed was the cup of God's wrath which poured on him the heinous and vile sins of all of humanity against a holy God. Only Jesus could satisfy this because he was fully God and man. Only one who was God had the power to forgive sins and only one who was man could bear the wrath that Adam's race deserved. Until we come to grips with the depth of God's wrath, we will never understand the depths of God's mercy and love.
My prayer is that you will spend the hour and a half and watch this video which causes us to pause. Oh how easy we forget the depth of our sin and the depth of His mercy. Lord, I pray that as I pursue the ministry of consulting with churches, I will not lose sight of what is really at the heart of the gospel. While it is important to be able to contextualize the gospel in today's world and while it is important to help churches be places where outsiders can connect with God's people, let us never forget the gospel. Outside of God's grace we are nothing but objects of God's wrath, but ,praise be to God, we receive mercy because of what Christ has done.