For far too long, Christians have been told that the most wonderful news ever announced is really little more than an insurance policy designed to save people from the fiery wrath of a very angry God.
God hates sin, we are told. And by implication, God hates sinners. He is too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in His presence. So make a decision right now, or endless, conscious suffering awaits you!
Forgotten is the fact that the Great Commission that Jesus gave His followers is to make disciples, not just converts. Forgotten is the fact that the message we proclaim is designed to transform lives, not just keep us out of hell.
What Did Jesus Do?
If we look at Jesus (who is God), we will notice something rather amazing. He was not too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in His presence. He actually ate with tax-collectors and sinners – and told the Pharisees (who were too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in their presence) that the sick needed to be healed.
Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn sinners. He came into the world to save sinners. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. As in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Does God hate sin? Of course! But He didn’t just turn His back on sinners and leave them forever in a sinful state where they would continue to hate Him and endlessly suffer the consequences of their actions and attitudes toward Him.
God actually hated sin enough to do something about it. He hated it enough to love it out of existence – with harsh discipline if necessary . . . but not discipline that never ends.
God has a unique and positive purpose for each person’s life. His laws are just and true. His desire is to see all people experience true purpose, reconciliation with Him, forgiveness, and power to overcome and defeat sin and wickedness in their lives. And He will accomplish all that He desires to do.
The greatest time of expansion for the Christian Church was in the first few centuries after Christ, when the dominant view of many of the leaders and laity was that God would ultimately restore all of His creation to its intended perfection.
They knew something about the Gospel that we have misunderstood. They knew that God’s love is unconditional . . . His power is irresistible . . . and He never gives up.
They knew that the Gospel provides much more than fire insurance against hell.
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