D.Martin Lloyd Jones points out in His sermons on Romans chapter 5 that the tendency of the evangelists of his time was to invite people to the blessings of Christ without calling them to reconciliation with God and peace with Him, first and foremost.
They were calling upon them to come to Christ and receive this, that or the other blessing. They were ignoring the need to call people back to peace with God by repentance and faith in Christ’ finish work.
Speaking in 1957-58, Lloyd Jones warns of those who call people to happiness, peace and joy through coming to Christ and then promising them help with life’s problems without firstly calling them to be reconciled with God.
Man through the fall, is alienated from God by sin and therefore can expect no spiritual blessings from Him until they enter into relationship by repentance of sin and faith in and through Jesus Christ.
He uses the statement of the man born blind in the ninth chapter of John, that God does not hear sinners. Therefore those whose sin is not dealt with cannot approach God until their standing with Him is assured through Christ.
All other things in Christianity must be subservient to this. It is the primary function of Christianity to reconcile sinful men and women to God by faith and repentance.
This sort of preaching remains current with the teaching of many in the church today.
It is this neglect of the call to repentance and the need for new life and conversion which reduces the gospel to just a cure all for what “ails you” instead of a message of Salvation from the dire peril and consequences of sin.
It is of no value to erect a super structure without building it on the foundation that God has laid down in His revealed Word.
It is this error that explains the shallow and superficial state of Christianity and Christians.
My brother works at a fast food restaurant among a group of teenagers and young adults. He was complaining that he mentions many things and people and they have no idea what he is talking about either because they are too young or just not experienced.
Today the Church is also confronted by a group of people who have no appear to have no frame of reference with which to understand the message of the gospel given to them.
In the great effort to bridge the communication gap today’s church has over compensated for peoples natural lack of knowledge of the Bible and the things of God by either dumb-ing down or neglecting aspects of Biblical teaching. The result being that the “gospel” message they are trying to convey is no longer the same as that revealed in scripture.
We may be living in different times but the inherent ignorance of the man of this world regarding the things of God is nothing new. Indeed we are told that nothing but the direct work of the Holy Spirit is required before they can begin to understand the things of God.
It is this particular point that the church today seems to be ignoring. The fact is we all need to be taught of God before we have any real understanding and possibility of living the Christian life.
This is not to say that we do not need to speak and teach in such a way to remove all reasonable barriers to the understanding of the gospel but we must never do this at the expense of the truth of God’s Word.
When we look at those we perceive to be proclaiming a false or watered down Gospel or who are introducing unscriptural innovations into the Church, while discarding historical practices in worship and doctrine, it is easy to carry our indignation with what they are doing to extremes of passion and anger.
We may view ourselves in the character of modern reformers or as imitating Christ in the temple and genuinely seek the restoration of gospel truth and the unvarnished simplicity of worship.
The problem is that this can be carried to excess and make us forget that error is as possible to ourselves as anyone else. We can come to despise those purveyors of false doctrines and forget that there but by the grace of God go I.
As D.Martyn Lloyd Jones again points, out we should pity those who are caught in Satan’s delusions and pray we do not fall into them.
Satan carries the major part of the World captive in sin and this should provoke sincere pity on the part of all those who live as Christ did and “to seek and save the lost”.
While those who go out of their way to contradict the “truth as it is in Jesus” are far more guilty and liable to greater punishment, it is still not our role to be judge and executioner but to leave their fate in the hands of God and pray for their repentance and salvation.
It is our task to stand up for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s Word and endeavour by His grace to live genuine Christian lives. Thereby we oppose error and sin by showing forth the power of God’s truth and embody His mercy.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16