The more we expand the Gospel to include things it didn’t include in the New Testament the more we lose heart and hope. The more jots and tiddles we include under the umbrella of “gospel” the less sure we become of our salvation. The more neurotic we get about soul, turning into a constant spiritual squirming of in, out, in, out…that at any given moment we are hanging on by a thread and God is just waiting for the right time to cut us loose. He is waiting to do us in the moment after we got something out of order to ensure our eternal damnation. We pile things into the gospel, making laws where there we no laws. We require things never required by scripture…we bind where God doesn’t bind and loose where He doesn’t loose and all the while make people slaves to their own inability to be perfect.
Thank God that He didn’t set the Gospel up like that! It isn’t that complicated nor should we be that neurotic. God will not so complicate the salvation process that it is impossible to find joy in this life and call us to be joyful. God will not call for a Gospel that is so powerful but want us to treat it like it is powerless. No. God has made things simpler than we make it. God’s grace is sufficient and the Gospel is not as complicated as we often make it.
Once we understand the power of the Gospel and the simplicity of the Gospel we can live with hope and joy because we have assurance that God will do what He promised to do. It doesn’t hinge on our perfection. It doesn’t hinge on doctrinal perfection either…as though every conceivable doctrine is one more rung on a latter to heaven. No. His grace is sufficient. So live by faith. Trust God will take care of the rest. The result will be a motivation toward holiness and doctrinal purity, not because we believe they earn our salvation but because we will be truly motivated to serve, love and obey a God like ours!
Good article Matt. I remember when my journey began to take me places that frightened me I actually re-read, then re-read again and again the famous book in the Church of Christ explaining its beliefs, believing that something was wrong with me and that I needed to get myself straight. It was after the third re-read that I realized this was too many marbles to try to sweep up.