Jesus Gospel- Part two: The call to change. You are not okay.

Mark 1:15b “repent…” One of the great delusions, in our understanding of Jesus Christ, is the notion that our savior is completely happy for you and me to stay like we are as long as we believe. This lie, I fear, sends more people to Hell than any other. It’s one of those lies that is almost true, but not really. This lie is the soil out of which the false gospel of tolerance is born. This false gospel, which our culture loves, is summed up in this statement: “Jesus accepts you just like you are, so just be yourself and love everyone. Live any way that works for you and don’t judge anybody.” But the fact is, this is not the gospel Jesus preached. Yes he loves you as you are. Yes he wants you to love everyone. And yes he warns against self-righteous judgment that ignores one’s own sin. But you never hear Jesus saying we don’t need to change. You never hear Him giving us permission to continue in sin. When talking to the woman at the well, for example, when she admitted she was living with a man, who was not her husband, after five divorces, He didn’t affirm her lifestyle. He didn’t say to her-“Well I’m glad you have a relationship that is fulfilling and I hope you are happy with your lover.” He called her out of it. We love to tell the story of the woman caught in adultery. We love to say, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” in order to defend ourselves from those who call us out on our sins. But we forget that Jesus didn’t endorse her lifestyle of adultery. He didn’t start a church that celebrates extra-marital relationships. He didn’t start a support group for Christians who are having affairs. He told her, “Go and sin no more.” One fresh look at all the places where Jesus calls us to turn from sin, should make it evident that the Jesus who just wants us to believe, with no call to change, is purely mythological. Jesus gospel, begins with a call to repent. Repent means simply to turn around. Change perspective, then change direction. You cannot go your way and His way at the same time. You must forsake your self-directed life and follow Him. The call to repent means: I have to change- Our sin is the only thing separating us from God. We cannot bring it along with us. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” He says. (Luke 13:1-5) I need to change- Sin is slavery, not freedom. You cannot experience the freedom of faith while giving yourself to the bondage of sin. (John 8:34-36) I can change- Jesus died to free us from the power of sin. You don’t have to stay in the same destructive patterns that have held you down. He has come to set you free. The great news of the gospel is that freedom is possible in Him. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Let Him free you today.

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