Change it Up: Understanding the Gospel
I’m probably not the first person you’ve heard mutter about a consumerist view of the story of God, our saviour Jesus, and the reconciliation of people to God: the gospel. We do like to consume the gospel, to see what we can get from it. We all know we prefer to tell our friends and family who don’t know Jesus about how loving He is and how gracious He is because we get a lot from that; but we don’t want to mention sin and judgement, because they’re scary and no one wants to consume fear.
In our second post of highlights from Release’s book Jars of Clay (get yours here), we’re thinking about changing up our consumerist view of the gospel for the view the persecuted have of the gospel: that to follow Jesus is not about consuming the warm and fuzzies, but about standing firm in God’s promise of salvation throughout hardship.
Jesus taught that His story would bring opposition; that even families would turn against each other because of Him (Matthew 10). And we know this to be true – throughout history we have heard stories of families rejecting and punishing those who become Christians.
The world persecutes Christians because it hates Jesus. John 15:18 says “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” – when those that reject Jesus hate Christians, they hate Jesus.
The world persecutes because it doesn’t know Him, they don’t know that He is the way to God: “But all these they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me” (John 15:21).
And the world persecutes because Satan exists and opposes the truth of Jesus. John 17: 14-15 puts together hatred of Jesus and the “the evil one” – where God is at work in the world, Satan is working to oppose Him.
Yet we know this Story of God to be true, despite the opposition. So we need to change up what we think about the gospel; we need to change up our expectation that it will be consumed to make us feel better, and know instead that when we share the truth of Jesus the world will hate it, they will be ignorant of Him, and the Devil will oppose us.
Ultimately this is not a story the world wants to consume: they don’t want to buy it. So let’s change up our view of the gospel which says “come on in, Jesus loves you and you’ll feel great!” to a view that says “come on in, here is truth, love, justice and grace. You won’t always feel great, and you won’t always be everyone’s favourite, but you will know God and to lose everything for Him is to gain it all!”
If you want to be part of this kind of journey of faith, Release Potential is working hard to share amazing stories of amazing people, loving Jesus around the world under opposition, fear and hatred. Get involved, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you want to change the world, become a Change Maker.