There are a lot of voices out there preaching about salvation through Christ. Ours is not the only one, and by no means am I suggesting that one should only listen to Song Lifestyle. However, there are imposters among our ranks. There are those who would try and set believers on a course toward the law serving religiosity. There are likewise others who would steer believers toward an extra gospel–one that acknowledges Christ crucified and celebrates the bridal reality we have in Christ, but quickly grows bored with the “just Jesus” message-that simple message that is so easy, so simple that a first grader could get it and run with it.
A Quick Warning
Beware of anyone who tries to drag you back to the law! The gospel message is easy: Christ died for the sins of the world and rose again to sit at the right hand of God. Jesus loves you. THE END!
There are many who add to the end of those two simple sentences something like this: but you’ve gotta believe and live for him. Read your Bible and pray and fast and then you’ll be assured you’re really in Christ.
This is called law. It’s called works-based religion. Adding a “but you’ve gotta” to the end of this simple, scandalous gospel is the same as saying that Jesus didn’t finish the job and it takes human willpower and determination to finish the work of the cross.
There’s another camp of believers who would not think of adding a “but you’ve gotta” to the end of the scandalously simple gospel message, but they will offer up a steaming plate of “but there’s more!” for you to belly up and gobble.
There are voices out there who are so wrapped up in the mystical experiences and joyful explosions of ecstasy that they begin teaching solely on their experience and completely lose sight of the bliss of the scandalous gospel! Jesus suddenly becomes an hors d’oeuvre, some fluffy light snack, but not the main course for us to sink our teeth into.
Straightening It All Out
Colossians 2:3 Paul writes this: Christ is the key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s wise purpose and plan (BCJ).
I’m not negating mystical experiences in Christ. By no means would I ever say that we should merely sit with Jesus and not enjoy him! I’m not at all in the stream of those who encourage their flocks to “seek Jesus but not his hand.” If you’re seeking his hand, you’re eventually going to look up into his love-filled, fiery eyes!
But I am suggesting that we don’t forget the root message that got us all here in the first place. The Gospel!
Jesus became your substitute, being murdered as humanity, and wove himself into the whole world. We now have access to all of Heaven’s realities because of Christ! Jesus died and saved the world from sin and death. He rose from the dead and lives his life inside our lives in mystical union.
This is the message.
This is the truth.
It’s not boring. It’s not the “lesser reality.” It’s the intoxicating bliss of our lives!
Jesus is the key that unlocks the treasure of God’s wise purpose and plan. Jesus is key! Jesus is the treasure!
Enjoy your mystical union with him. Have fun splashing around in the wild and the weird of God, but the most whack you’ll get is from contemplating on what got us to these pleasures in the first place: Christ and him crucified!
Paul writes the following in Colossians 1:17–Christ is prior to all creation and through him all creation holds together. Later, in verse 20 we read that through Christ’s self-giving act upon the cross, God has united himself to all people and all creation; …everything, whether human beings and the created world or heavenly beings (BCJ).
Be on your guard against those who try to rope you into the law by some self-fulfilling salvation through your own work; likewise, be on your guard against those who get sucked into the wild and the weird but have lost connection with the head of the church–Christ Jesus. Enjoy God, get whacked and weird, but stay connected to the vine.
Martin Luther said it best: We need to hear the gospel every day because we forget it every day.
Remind yourself that you are not your own but belong to Christ. He is your substitute and lives his life inside your life. The gospel is the scandalous message of grace where he did the work so all you need to do is rest in his finished work!