The Christian Message

The doctrine of the Atonement (or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for our Catholic friends) is not only central to all Christian truth, it is all Christian Truth. “I decided to know nothing among you ,” Paul vowed to the Corinthians church, “except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) As Pastor David Platt, Lead Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C., so aptly states it, “The Gospel is the lifeblood of Christianity.” The missionary council meeting in Jerusalem in 1928 expanded, “The Gospel is the answer to the world’s greatest need. It is not our discovery or achievement; it rests on what we recognize as an act of God… We believe that men are made for Christ and cannot really live apart from Him…”

As believers, the Savior in our life is beyond question our trumpet call, our motive for living. Herein lies the Christian motive;” states the 1928 Missionary Council, “it is simple. We cannot live without Christ and we cannot bear to think of men living without Him… Christ is our motive and Christ is our end. We must give nothing less and we can give nothing more” [DuBose, Francis M. ed. Classics of Christian Missions. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1979 .] We are, in simple truth, missionaries to cultural change. And we must let that missionary side of our love realize more its potential in the hand of God. Jesus’s  life is what our lives are all about. “in him we live, and move, and have our being; …For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)

It’s All About The Blood

We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” (Romans 5:10) With an unapologetic conviction, this is what our faith is all about! This is our living hope: the glorious return of the great God even our Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13) who shed His blood on a cross on our behalf, in our stead, to reconcile us to God. “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses..” (Ephesians 1:7)

Paul unambiguously declared “… through him to reconcile everything to himself … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

The Confrontation

But this message runs counter to the cultural changes in the civilized world as Dr. Platt writes, “As followers of Christ, we are fooling ourselves if we don’t face the reality that belief in and obedience to the Bible in an anti-Christian age will inevitably lead to risk in one’s family, future, relationships, reputation, career, and comfort in this world.

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

Make no mistake about it: “[Christianity’s] critical edge,” Graham Ward cautions, “is important … not only to read the signs of the times but to radicalize the postmodern critique by providing it with …a position outside the secular value-system.” In English: as Jesus prayed to the Father,

I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14)

Discussions around topics, like a nuclear family or infanticide, that appear peripheral and less important have been dragged into dialogue because we cannot escape certain conclusions about the God we are getting to know and to love. Somehow, we have discovered, that our faith, our love for God, our salvation, is a wisdom crying in the streets (Proverbs 1:20) pleading with us not to be lured in by worldly concepts that ultimately lead to denying who we are or who we want to become in Christ.

A Powerful Message

Now on the eve of Christ’s return, this makes our voice as necessary as it is unwelcome. Make no mistake about it: “the offense of the cross” (Galatians 5:11) is real. We must not be “…ashamed of the gospel, because it [alone] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)

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