Modern evangelicalism has produced a more user-friendly, gospel message that unfortunately is not the gospel. The “non-threatening” Modern Message produces “success” which is defined as “numbers”. The Master’s Message produces repentant, regenerated (born again/converted) children of God who are saved by grace, who love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The biblical spiritual issue of dealing with our sin guilt before God, has been replaced with the Humanistic psychological issue of happiness, having our problems and issues fixed, and our felt needs met. Salvation from God’s judgment of our sin against God, has been replaced with a promise of “life enhancement”. In order for us to be faithful to God in our witnessing, it is important that we have an awareness of these modern messages compared to the gospel as taught by Christ and the apostles. The differences can be striking.
Jesus repeated the law to the proud self righteous, who thought they were “good” on their own merits. He did this for the purpose of allowing conviction of the conscience to occur; an awareness of sin and guilt, followed hopefully by repentance. To a humble person who already was aware and convicted of their sin, and distraught over their guilt before God, Jesus gave the gospel, which is the good news of forgiveness and salvation by the grace of God, through the blood sacrifice of Christ.
The rich young ruler is an example of someone who was proud; he thought he was a good person, able to earn his way to heaven. Jesus gently, but matter- of- factly, brought up the law to him. Jesus showed him that he in fact broke the first and second commandments; he loved his money more than God, and it was his idol. Turns out he was not as “good” as he thought he was. Only God is good. He did not repent at that time. But his self righteousness and idolatry were revealed to him through the law.
The woman caught in adultery was a humble person. She knew very well that she was in big trouble because of her sin, and she was terrified. She knew she was guilty and condemned for breaking the 7th commandment. Humbled at His feet, Jesus gave her grace. He revealed Himself (the Gospel!) to her; His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy, and she repented and placed her faith in Him. Afraid no more, and freed from the condemnation of her sin, she joyfully “went and sinned no more”.
The problem these people had, was the need to spiritually get right with God through Jesus Christ. It was not the need to deal with Humanistic issues of hurt, lonliness, addiction, low self-esteem, stress, dysfunctional family, purpose, happiness, socialization, or to help along the development of man created “world peace”. Let us understand, so we can be prepared to be faithful to the true gospel when we witness.
Check out this video of Kirk Cameron teaching on the Modern Gospel vs. the Biblical Gospel. When the page loads, the video will start to play.