hey there, believer. have a kick in the pants.

so, not to be a debbie downer, but there's something that's been bugging me lately.  you know that quote (i think it's by thomas aquinas) that's like, 'preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words'?  this quote isn't really the thing that bugs me, but really how it's used most of the time.  it seems like most people use this as an excuse to just be nice people but never actually share the gospel.

the gospel was an act, it is not an attitude.  yes, it has transforming power over your attitude, but the gospel itself is a STORY.  one that can't be gleaned without having been explicitly told.

because of our inherent nature, we all love and revere ourselves more than god and rebel against his law.  because of this, we are all born enemies of god.  but god does not delight in the punishment of the wicked (us), and desires to restore our relationship with him and to save us from the inevitable consequence of our sin (which is eternal separation from him, which is unspeakably horrendous, which is hell). so he sent his son, jesus christ, to live the perfect life we have to live to be restored - but are completely incapable of on our own.  to die the death we deserve to die.  to take the full wrath of god that is rightfully directed at us and to absorb it into himself.  to rise from the grave in victory over the power of sin to give us freedom to live in bondage to god rather bondage to our own selves.

and if we have faith and trust that we do deserve to die because of the weight of our rebellion, that jesus did take that weight onto himself and died in our place, that jesus is more powerful than the entire weight of human sin...and if we submit to his right to authority over our lives and his desire to establish an actual relationship with us...oh my, then we will be completely restored to him.  in love with him.  purchased from the grave.  hopeful.  growing into new and eternal life rather than decaying into eternal death. 

this is the gospel.  it SHOULD motivate us to have a better attitude, to be more loving to the checkout girl at walmart and more patient with the idiot driver.  but those attitudes in us are not enough to change the lives of others (although they can make others more receptive to the gospel) - the gospel itself is what transforms us.

so i guess what i'm saying is this:  out of love for and gratitude toward god, be a model christian.  love on the believers and unbelievers around you.  make this christian life look desirable and irresistable.  bind up the broken.  and share the gospel.  people will not know jesus christ unless you speak his name.  and god will bless you in this - it's his desire to draw us to himself, and he desires (and commands) us to be willing tools in this work.  and it's WONDERFUL work!

so...anyone in your life with whom you could explicitly share the gospel? if so, go do it.  if not, stop living in a bubble and make some new friends.  THEN go do it.

love you. 

and by the way, i'm the pot calling the kettle black.  BY NO MEANS am i awesome at this. so please don't feel like i'm being all holier-than-thou.  kicking my own self in the pants with this one as well.


Ben Dau said...

I think the quote was from Saint Francis of Assisi. In any case, I also have some beef with the quote. It is a nice idea, but my general response when people say it is, "Then words are always necessary."

Let's face it, we live in a busy world. We need something or someone to arrest our attention, otherwise we will just keep on living life and not notice that someone opened the door for us, or moved over in busy traffic so that someone could merge in. Nothing beats a personal testimony of what God has done in your life.

Saved by grace said...

Amen. And amen. I agree words speak loud (as well as actions)! People need to know why your life is changed, why you show love, why you have joy... People need to know Jesus! ***kicking myself in the pants***

whenjeskasparks said...

*in the high pitched "awkwaaaard" tone*