The Problem With The Gospel

I have been a Christian for several years now and for many of those years, I never questioned what I was taught. I took everything as fact and never spoke up. When friends had questions that I couldn’t answer about my faith, I sometimes doubted, but I knew God was out there because I saw His work in my own family.

As I grew older, I learnt about Christian apologetics (defense of the Christian faith), and began to understand the truth of the gospel in a way I had never experienced before.

But as I recently went on a Christian retreat where I was to learn more about God, I discovered a slight problem with the gospel.

Actually, a more than slight problem with the gospel. It’s such a great concern that I fear is at the core of Christianity, threatening to break its foundations and rupture the hearts of those who are so close to finding purpose in the faith.

The problem, you might guess, is sin.

Which, I guess is true, but it’s not the even bigger issue that I’m thinking of.

But what even is a sin?

Google defines a sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law”, which basically means that in the Christian faith, a sin is disobeying God, going against His commands.

But God has so many rules and expectations, it’s impossible to keep every one of them. Why even try? Let’s just live our lives in peace without guilt or shame in doing what we want.

And so, if God is real (which I believe he is  https://annamariesarah.com/2017/09/21/why-i-believe/ ), then He is written off, shoved to the side, forgotten and rejected by His own creations.

Sin is not entirely the problem. The gospel destroys sin, Jesus defeated death and has the victory in the story of the gospel! So then, what is the problem?

At this retreat, I learnt that one of the main reasons people don’t accept the gospel is because they fail to recognize the weight of their sin and how much they truly need help.

I’ve been one of those people. I’ve compared my sins to others and rationalized, thinking “Oh my sin, isn’t as bad as theirs”. I’ve thought “hey, at least I’m not a murderer or a rapist or have hurt other people the way I’ve been hurt by others”. I’ve held that “holier-than-thou” mentality over other Christians, and whether or not I did it subconsciously, it happened. Sin happened, and I did it, and comparing my sins to others’ sins does not excuse my own. (Not to mention, it’s super prideful to be thinking that way). Sin happens every day in my life because I fail to worship the almighty God as he deserves. He is worthy of it all – all the honour, glory and praise, God deserves it all!

How can we accept the gospel as truth if we don’t recognize the depth of our own sin? How can we accept Jesus as Saviour if we don’t even think we need Him?

Currently, I’ve been diving into the book of Judges – a book of the Bible written much earlier than the 4 gospels that tell of Jesus’ suffering and victory. As I came across the 13th chapter, I counted about 7 times that God had saved the Israelites from their own sin. And this was just from the beginning of Judges – it doesn’t include all the times God saved them before that!

The Israelites rebelled many times, basically thinking God has so many rules and expectations. Let’s just live our lives in peace without guilt or shame in doing what we want and serving other gods. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.

The Israelites’ pride in thinking that they didn’t need God caused them to live their own way, serving other gods. 7 Times they turned from God in Judges Chapters 1-13 alone.

Out of frustration, God even says in Judges, “‘When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!’” (Judges 10: 11-14, emphasis added).

I can definitely understand God’s exasperation at this point. He created them and loved them, and all He wanted was for them to love him back by worshipping only Him.

At first I was like, “Well He wouldn’t need to save them if He didn’t put all those rules in place to begin with. Like, isn’t He kinda selfish and attention-seeking for wanting glory all the time and wanting us to worship Him? If He’s God, He doesn’t even need us.”

It’s true that God doesn’t need us. A humbling thought as it is, but also one that provokes the thought that God had a selfish motive in creating us. But if God is perfect, and perfectly good, then it is not in His character to be bad – he cannot be selfish. So why would he care if the Israelites worshipped Him or not?

Apologist and philosopher Peter Kupisz gives a plausible explanation, “If God is of infinite value, then we cannot equate His value with anything else we know because nothing else is of infinite value. Thus, he deserves all the praise and worship because he of infinite value – the most fantastic being in all of existence, the ultimate source of every good thing we experience and He is the leader of every created being.”

Kupisz goes on to say that, “Committing a sin against an infinite God is committing an infinite sin” – a sin so deep and petrifying, we cannot make up for it by doing finite good things. Without God, without Jesus, without the gospel, we are in deep trouble.

So then, is God wrong to ask for the Israelites’ worship? I don’t believe so. And, like the Israelites, God asks for our worship and praise too. When we don’t, we are committing an infinite sin!

Let’s go back to Judges for a moment and take a look at what God does just 2 verses after He expresses his irritation with the Israelites:

“Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judges 10: 16).

What does God do? He has compassion on them. He saves them. Again.

Why would He do that?

I think the answer lies in His character:

God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).

He is not anger or irritation or sorrow. He expresses those emotions, but He is not them. He is love.

In the Old Testament, There were so many sacrifices being made in order for the Israelites’ sins to be atoned, that it didn’t make any sense for God to keep asking for sacrifices. 7 Times they turned from God in Judges Chapters 1-13 alone.

Yet God saved them over and over and over again. This is why the gospel exists now – because God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to be the once-and-for-all, final sacrifice! Jesus saves us from our sins each day over and over and over again – if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

So you see, the problem with the gospel isn’t just “sin”, it’s a specific sin called pride that blocks us from seeing our own sin for what it is, and how much we truly need God.

The problem with the gospel isn’t God or Jesus; they’re perfect.

The problem with the gospel isn’t even other people. They can’t fix our sin!

No.

The problem with the gospel…

is us.

(Photo credits: Kayla Noakes)

2 Replies to “The Problem With The Gospel”

  1. “At this retreat, I learnt that one of the main reasons people don’t accept the gospel is because they fail to recognize the weight of their sin and how much they truly need help.”

    – Clapped my hand with so much excitement because I learned this through many videos and understood the weight of my sin and what you said is dead on!

    “isn’t He kinda selfish and attention-seeking for wanting glory all the time and wanting us to worship Him?”

    – I find on the aspect of this, I tend to use the example of the church being the bride of Christ, if you had a husband who constantly looked towards other women rather then you alone, wouldn’t that bring frustration and jealously in you since he should be desiring only you alone or imagine you had a child who desired other parents then you, the same applies with God and the Israelite’s.

    – Going to end on one last reply, loved your post and can’t wait to read more of them in the future 😀 I’ll be praying for the journey ahead!

    “How can we accept the gospel as truth if we don’t recognize the depth of our own sin?”

    – This is my personal perspective on sin that I’ve written down from various youtube video I’ve seen

    *Sorry for taking a lot of space in the reply section :/

    “if you saw that someone had a sentence for 1 week in prison, you might think “must have not been that bad of a crime”, now if you saw a sentence for 5 lifetimes in prison given by a judge, you might think “what kind of crime did this man commit”. Think what the sentence is for sin, eternal damnation to hell for all existence; never ending. That’s a lot more than 5 lifetimes in prison, because that at least has an ending; sin has no ending to its sentence. Someone could say “God’s just angry at the sin, not the sinner”, but it’s the sinner who goes to hell, not the sin. Keep following and think of this perspective. God is rigorousness, he is the embodiment of all that is just, good, holy and love; he’s the highest standard because he is the standard, nothing goes above him.
    If I’m a father and I lie to my kid, what would happen?…..nothing, since I rule over him, now let’s say I lie to my wife, well that’s going to have some consequences because she’s my wife. Now let’s say I lie to a police officer, I could be sent to jail, and if I lie to my country, I could be put to death; what did you notice and why did it change, I did the same action to everyone “lied” but my sentence grew in severity, why’s that?
    The greater the authority, the greater my actions weigh against it, so since I have sinned against the highest authority there is, then the punishment will have the highest judgement there is.
    Back to what I said earlier, we have sinned against an all holy, just and righteous God, and that brings him a lot of anger, to such an extent, that our sentence is eternal hell. But he’s love is so great, that he sent his son to take that anger, fury and wrathful judgement that should rightfully be bestowed onto us for sinning against him, he instead sent out that wrath onto Jesus when he died on the cross, so that you don’t have to.

    This perspective brings a heavy understanding of our sin and just how merciful God is and just how bad sin is. Even though he hates to his core the sins we have committed, he loves use to his core so much that he sent his own son to take it from us.
    The reason why I try not to sin is not to be a better person, I try not to sin because when I do, I sin against the one who took on my sins, so why would I want him to take on any more of them. Something I need to remind myself is that, when I willfully sin, I stomp over the blood that was shed for my sins and from this thought it reminds me why I don’t want to sin and why I want to walk a righteous walk, because it brings joy to the one that saved me.”

    – Sorry for the lengthy reply didn’t have time to write a short one. This is just my thoughts towards the topic, my thoughts do not reflect the thoughts of anyone else*

    1. Hi and thank you for your response! No worries about the length, I am glad you took the time to respond and I appreciate the feedback. I really like the prison analogy and never thought about it that way! A great perspective to have for sure! It’s also a great perspective on why it’s important to walk righteously. Obviously no one is perfect, but it’s a great reminder as to why our ultimate goal in life is to be like Jesus. Thank you for your prayers as well, God bless! 🙂

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