Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Don't Christians Like the Gospel? Part 2

Right.  So I didn't explain last time what I meant by the title.  I mean professing Christians.  People who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  So the question is, why don't Christians like the Gospel?

Because it is entirely too God-centered.
The Gospel is about God getting all the credit, all the glory, all the fame.
That rubs our carnal, fleshly, sinful nature the wrong way.
Fortunately for us, we serve a God who saves us from that!
For instance, I was looking at Isaiah this morning.  If you want to get blown away with the God-centeredness of God, read this book!

For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.  Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 48:9-11

This is just staggering!
God with holding wrath.
God restraining holy anger towards sin.
All for the sake of his own praise.
He stops his hand from destroying sinners like you and me, not primarily because of you or me, but because of his own praise.
Secondly in verse ten He says that He is refining us (Israel in the context), not like silver, but through affliction.  Why does he do that?
Verse eleven tells us "for".  That word is so important. It means because.  That word is the connector that joins the two statements together.  We are refined 'for my own sake.'
For God's own sake.  Not only that, but He says it twice so that we will not miss it.  That is the Hebrew emphatic, commanding us to pay attention to what He is saying.  In other words, God is doing all of this i.e. restraining wrath from us, and refining us;  all for His own sake.
Why is that so important for Him to point out?
Verse eleven continues to give us hints:  "For how should my name be profaned?" In other words, if He does it for any other reason, He is profaning His own glory.  If He has a higher motive than for His own sake, He is despising Himself.  God has been God, is God, and will continue to be God, and that means that He is God-centered at the core of His being because there is nothing greater than Himself.
This is why some "Christians" dislike the Gospel.  It's too much about God, and not enough about ourselves.  This is even the motive for our sins being forgiven  1 John 2:12 says "I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake."
That's right.  God forgives us primarily because it says something about Himself.  And that something is more important than our personal comfort.

Moving on to the last part of verse eleven. "My glory I will not give to another."  Still connected to the previous thoughts.   'I am doing this for my own sake, SO THAT my name will not be profaned FOR, I will not give my glory to another.'
God wants all the credit!  God wants all the glory!  Throughout this prophetic book, we see God pronouncing judgment on Israel and using Babylonians for the instrument of punishment.  But even for that He wants all the credit, He keeps on saying things like

Have you not heard?  Long ago I did it, from ancient times I planned it.  Now I have brought it to pass. (Isaiah 37:26)

In other words, 'just because the Babylonians are doing this, don't think for a second that this was not my plan.  This has always been my plan.  Look to me as the author of this and not to their hands. I want the credit.  I will not share the glory of this plan with any other!'

If God does "small" things throughout history, like having one nation punish another, for his own glory, how should we think about why he does the "biggest" things?  Things like crucifying the Lord of Glory?  Thinks like rewarding saints to heaven and condemning sinners to hell?  Are those disconnected from His glory?
Absolutely not.
God does all things for his glory including the Gospel.
This is why some Christians don't like the Gospel.  They are not the stars.  They are not on the main stage.  They are the extras, the unnecessary parts that get to act merely because the producer has allowed them to by His gracious and loving hand.

I thank God for that gracious loving hand.
Do you?
Do you love the God-centeredness of the Gospel?

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