The gospel and our feelings

Americans love the New Testament Jesus. I have read many blog posts over the past few weeks that talk about feelings, that paint Jesus as this hippie that talks about love all the time, unlike his grumpy dad who kills everyone in the Old Testament. The Old Man is harsh and Jesus is squishy and awesome. It just feels right. The problem with so many Christians is our reaction to legalistic judgmentalism isn’t to turn to Christ, who is both Just and Justifer instead we end up falling on the other side of the horse to squishy liberal theology of feelings.

Lewis says this in “The World’s Last Night”:

“For my own part I hate and distrust reactions not only in religion but in everything. Luther surely spoke very good sense when he compared humanity to a drunkard who, after falling off his horse on the right, falls off it next time on the left. I am convinced that those who find in Christ’s apocalyptic the whole of his message are mistaken. But a thing does not vanish—it is not even discred­ited—because someone has spoken of it with exaggeration. It remains exactly where it was. The only difference is that if it has recently been exaggerated, we must now take special care not to overlook it; for that is the side on which the drunk man is now most likely to fall off.”

We have this tendency to fall off our theological horses on one side or the other. The side we are presently falling off is the side culture has fallen off before us. It is the side of liberal theology. We get rid of the law because God is love and we then preach that perverted version of grace that leads to Christians ditching the bibles because “God knows my heart.” (He does know your heart and the Bible tells us our hearts are desperately wicked.)

The Gospel tells us that Christ did not destroy the law but fulfilled it. Those people on the internet and in pulpits trying to tell us that Jesus is Love yet never explain that God hates sin, not just homosexuals, but sin, all sin your sin and my sin. Without the contextual understanding of God’s justice we will never understand God’s love and we will preach what Bonhoeffer referred to as cheap Grace. Jesus came not to cover for us like a cool older brother but to raise the stakes so that we see ourselves as we truly are so we can see God as He truly is.

So before you preach a message to your church or to the kids in your church please preach about God’s love and his insane grace but don’t forget to tell them about how much he hates their sin and your sin. When we get squishy and excuse things God doesn’t, don’t forget when we excuse sin that Jesus died to cover we minimize the work that he accomplished. When we do that we head down a feelings centered, me centric religion where God is predictable because I control what is right and what is wrong.

Love how C.S. Lewis describes God in Narnia – “He is not safe but he’s good” If I was ever going to get a tattoo that’s what I would get on the inside of my eyelids. Because I want God to be safe and predictable because in the end we all want to be God. That’s the same lie Satan sold Adam and Eve he hasn’t changed his pitch. We all want to be God, That’s why we need grace.

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