Sunday, November 4, 2012

Perversion

You know how we sometimes like to take a piece of Scripture and make it mean whatever we want it to mean? Sometimes we glean 'truth' from our own understanding...whether we want to admit it or not. Sometimes we look solely at one verse and apply it to our lives without any consideration of what the verse actually means within the context it's been written in.

I'm guilty of it.
Just the other day I had to take a second look at Galatians 1:10.
Am I now trying to gain the approval of people or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!
It's one of those go-to verses for me, a reminder that we shouldn't care what other people think because they are not our master. We shouldn't be seeking their approval above God's approval. Okay...sure. I think that this is an important thing to be mindful of, but I've also realized how much gets lost if we only limit this verse to this general context.

Back up a bit and read all of Galatians 1 up until this point.
It's this intense passage about perverting the Gospel. Have we distorted the Gospel? Are we preaching a gospel that is contrary to The Gospel? This verse (v. 10) isn't just about pleasing God over people...but it has everything to do with the distortion of the Gospel.

Are we trying to please people so much in the way that we present Jesus that we do it in such a way that is faulty and incorrect? Do we become more concerned with how other people will perceive Christ that we sugar-coat, that we hold back, that we deny who He really is?
...if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! (v. 9)
It's clearly not to be taken lightly.
I wonder how often we distort the Gospel without even realizing it. I wonder how often we make the Gospel about something other than Jesus...or, rather, in addition to Jesus. That we don't think Jesus is enough by Himself and so we have to come up with gimmicks, and experiences, and things that seem fun and alluring to people. We try to win their approval over the approval of God.

I know I've probably perverted the Gospel to make it more appealing to others. I don't think it was always so intentional, but I know that that was the mindset: How do we make Jesus more appealing to others? Because I doubted that Jesus, by Himself, was enough. That He was enough to change lives, that He was enough to heal, that He was enough to bring hope to the hopeless.

I have to urge us all to get back to the Gospel. To get back to Jesus. To believe that He, by Himself, is enough. That He's all we need. He, alone, is enough to offer to others...we don't need anything else.

I suppose this post is two-fold.

  • I think it's necessary to re-examine how we read Scripture. I didn't have to go pull out commentaries or articles or find out what great theologians had to say about this passage... I simply had to read all of it. Consider that while you're reading, while you're listening, while you're spending time with the Lord. Be willing to remain open- it may be the hundredth time you've read something, but it doesn't mean there's not truth to be gained. 
  • Be wary in how you present the Gospel. Even the slightest distortions can have huge ramifications. Believe that Jesus Christ is enough... it doesn't have to be Jesus AND anything else. He doesn't have to be packaged in a certain way to appeal to the masses. 
Maybe, at the core, our inability to let Jesus be enough unveils something deeper within us that needs to be addressed. 

Think about it. 
Think about how you read Scripture. 
Think about how you present Jesus. 

Let us not be perverters of the Gospel. 



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1 comment:

  1. A result of New Criticism.
    And "Bible Roulette" theology.

    ReplyDelete