I don’t want to draw to a close the comments in the previous post (Lacey, you’ve read all kinds of my declarations of the gospel in this goofy old blog!), but whether you’ve contributed already or not, I’d like you to feel free to go another direction:
What isn’t the gospel?
What are the things that no one in his or her right mind and heart would be likely to put in the comments of the previous blog post as the gospel according to them; the good news of scripture; the core message of God’s Word to man?
Tonight, a young man from my church has found out that his spinal cord was severed in the dirt bike accident he had last weekend.
That is not the gospel.
Yet his church family continues to pray for and over this young man; will conduct a blood drive Sunday in his behalf; and some will fast and some will attend his bedside and some will plead with God on their knees, not knowing him well but loving him as if there were an empty place at their kitchen table that only he could fill.
Yesterday, I spent the day hearing a case with eleven fellow jurors against the mother of two toddlers and deciding that she was guilty of five of the seven counts against her, two of which involved the endangerment of their lives.
That is not the gospel.
Yet we deliberated long and contentiously, trying to find the benefit of the doubt, because it was obvious that she was not the primary culprit behind the evil that had taken place at her house, and that she had tried to take ineffective steps to protect them. One godly older gentleman not of her race, serving on a jury for the first time, begged on her behalf for us to try to see her life from her point of view at each charge. And at each charge and specification, we tried to gently persuade him of the overwhelming nature of the evidence and testimony. It was difficult for him to vote unanimously with us, for at heart he still felt that those children needed their mother and she needed to be with them.
I’m convinced that it’s because there is a gospel, a Story unlike any other, a Word of God that gives meaning and purpose and direction to life itself, and that word is love.
Love that powerful and undiluted can temper even the fearsome justice and righteousness of God Himself. Unlimited love is a frightening thing to the faint-of-heart but the bold-of-brain; to those who fear the Lord but are afraid to love the God who is love, cowards and bullies and experts and self-appointed prophets and correctors and straightener-outers who have tried their damnedest to dilute that love with a lot of other things and then bottle it up and sell it as the gospel truth. They’ve been around for a long time, from the first moment that God dared to show His love for mankind until now.
So defy those impostors. Be bold. Be brave. Be specific.
Tell me about the diluting ingredients that have never been and cannot be the gospel.