There is a trend that has developed within American Christianity.The development is terrifying. What is it? The lessening of sin and dismissal of any such notion in the Bible that God deals with sinners. It seems the gospel message has become all about the love of God with the absence of any warnings and set standard which God upholds. The idea is that God just loves you as you are and you are free to continue living as you do.
This idea creeps in by making claims that the way of Jesus is to welcome and accept sinners. So we immediately throw out Old Testament passages which highlight God’s judgment and we go only to Jesus, as if we can pit them against each other. If you examine the Gospels close enough, you will notice Jesus is no pushover on sin. He does not dismiss it or ignore it or lower God’s standard one bit. In fact, he warns that anyone who lessens even the least of the commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:19).
The reason sin matters, and the reason we should not lessen or lighten it up, is it shows us our rebellion and separation from God. This in turn shows us our need for a Savior. People need to see the reality of their sin before they will understand their need for a Savior.
This is why any “gospel” void of discussing the reality of sin and God’s righteous judgment against it is a false gospel. The Good News of the gospel is good news in response to very bad news. The bad news is that sin separates us from God and we are sinners, that we are not good people who do bad things, we are rebels against God. We willingly sin and often try to lessen its heinous nature. But the good news of the gospel is that God so loved us, and desired to ransom us from this condition, that He sent His Son to bear our sin and the punishment attached to it. If you strip away the bad news of the gospel, the good news doesn’t really make much sense.
So we as Christians have 4 possible responses to this:
1. indifferent (contemporary churches) churches that attempt to just go on business as usual as if the outside world had no effect on what happens inside the walls of the church
2. retreat (traditional churches) churches that speak out against the moral decay of society, but do so behind the walls of their fortress
3. conform (mainline churches) churches that change their views and beliefs to be more palatable to the world
4. engage (gospel-centered churches) churches who stand as lights in a world of darkness, not through retreat or indifference, but by engaging