Wrong assumptions lead to wrong conclusions. It is simple as that.
There is yet another high profile “Christian artist” that has left “the faith¹”. Readers at the time of this writing will probably guess correctly who this person is, but in the future this will be just as relevant with another story.
Every so often, with cyclical regularity, some so-called Christian leader comes out as leaving “the faith”. This person could often be categorized as a Christian rock star. This does not even need to specifically refer to someone in the music business, or what they commonly refer to as CCM. “Rock Star” is commonly used to refer to anyone who is extraordinarily skilled in some area or has achieved fame in one way or another.
It is often concluded that this person who leaves “the faith” left because he or she was only in it for the money or fame. While that may be true sometimes, it is not always the case, and from just looking at individual cases, that is not the conclusion that I have drawn in this matter.
Money and personal gain are motivators, don’t get me wrong.
1 Timothy 6:10 — “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
There is a much greater problem than the greed that many dismiss this as.
The greatest single issue in my estimation is belief in the wrong gospel.
Throughout the history of Christendom, the wrong gospel has permeated it. Sometimes it is the wrong gospel of a world conquering, or a world-changing church. If we believed the Bible, we would not believe this. In the opening verses of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, he writes:
Galatians 1:3–4 — “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father…”
That He might deliver us from this present evil world, not that He would use us to make this world a better place. We can be the “sweet savour of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) in any place that we are, but the world will be evil, and is always going that way.
When people believe the “social gospel” in any of its forms, if they are honest, they will be disappointed by it. Man is a sinner. Man at his core does not need to be lifted up by improved social institutions (or the destruction of them), but he needs to be saved. We are all equal, and that is not as children of God. We are all equal as children of Adam, and as such we are equally born under the curse of sin. The story of the first children of Adam born into this world is a story of murder, and the very first hate crime. The end of the world as they knew it came with the flood where God’s assessment was that the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:13). That is still true now. Adam may be dressed up with civilization, but he is still a sinner, and as such he will show it when he behaves as one.
God’s verdict on this world is summed up by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:
Romans 3:10–18 — “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Yet “Christians” leave “the faith” when they discover that this is true. They are shocked to find out that this world is evil. They are disappointed with God because of the evil and suffering in this world.
But that is exactly the whole point of the Gospel of Christ. Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)².
We thank our loving Lord Jesus Christ that after the apostle delivered God’s verdict in Romans chapter 3 against us, he followed almost immediately with this:
Romans 3:21–26 — “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
When we are established in the true gospel of Christ, we will not be disappointed in God when we see the conditions in the world from which He saved us. It is on the road to destruction. There is a promise of its restoration, but it will not be from our own kingdom building in the name of Christianity, or in social change to some imagined utopia. Christ Himself will come as the conquering King and build His own Kingdom. The 19th chapter of the book of the Revelation tells us of how He will establish His Kingdom, and “the church” and all of mankind’s social institutions are strangely absent from it. Don’t read yourself into the armies of heaven in verse 14. This is a real, literal, conquest by Christ’s invading army, no matter how good the Battle Hymn of the Republic³ makes you feel. The world will be brought under Christ, and He will do it. All things will be placed under His feet, but His word to us and the world now is the offer of reconciliation made possible and only available by the cross.
The CORRECT gospel that will not disappoint is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. By His death He has satisfied the wrath of God against sin that belongs to us because God made Christ sin for us. Because God made Christ to be sin for us, and Christ was put to death for our sin, He is free to offer His grace to us, and has set that the only condition of our salvation is to take Him at His word in this matter and believe His gospel.
The word of hope to this world is not personal or social reform. It is not found in establishment or re-establishment of law and order. It is not found in better government. It is not found in economics. It is not found in prosperity.
The wrong gospel is best fought against by knowing the correct gospel. The Good News is the Gospel of God’s grace to sinners deserving His wrath.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 — “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”
2 Corinthians 5:14–21 — “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Romans 5:8 — “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Believe this correct gospel and you will not be disappointed. The Gospel of Christ IS the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes it!
- I use “the faith” in quotes because I do not believe that the faith that they left is the faith that the Apostle Paul speaks of as the faith. They have left a faith but it is in the wrong object of faith.
- The Apostle adds “of whom I am chief” to this and many add this to their own witness to use it to describe themselves. While there is a sense of humility in using this to describe ourselves, we cannot all be the chief. Paul states this concerning himself for a different reason. Verse 16 goes on to say “that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” This is the sense in which the Apostle Paul is the chief of the sinners of whom Christ Jesus came to save. I might add here that if you are a sinner, then Christ Jesus came into the world to save you.
- Can we not see the utter failure of the post-millenialism that this “hymn” presents!
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.