The True Gospel, put simply: you ONCE Believe in Christ to be FOREVER rescued from Hell; and instead, forever live with God; because, Christ paid God for all mankind's sins. God accepted that payment, but now it's up to you to give your FREE consent, since God accepted WITHOUT your consent. That's it. Bible's John 3 is clear enough, even in translation.
So how weird is it, to BE INSULTED by the message that Someone DIED FOR YOU.. whether you believe it, or not? There's nothing hateful in that message. Wouldn't it at least SOUND nice? Would you treat as an insult, some SMELLY person giving YOU a winning lottery ticket? SALVATION IS SURELY WORTH MORE THAN WINNING ANY LOTTERY. Why then is the message rejected? Why is it generally considered somehow DEMEANING? On what grounds? Enquiring minds want to know.
OK, the alternative is nasty: hell. Gasoline goes in a car, but if you DRINK it, your life will be hell, too. But neither the real hell, nor the hell of drinking gasoline, are NECESSARY alternatives..you CAN avoid both. So why are we NOT insulted if warned about gasoline, but INSULTED at the Gospel, while unbelievers? Why, as Christians, do we always feel so CONSTRAINED to JUSTIFY the Gospel? Why do we NOT need to be apologetic about the hell of gasoline, but DO need to be apologetic about the existence of the real hell? These reactions don't make sense: if your mother warned you not to drink gasoline, would you accuse her of hating you? So if God warns us to believe in Christ, why do we brand Him as Unloving? Makes no sense.
Look: we hear ideas all the time. We accept them or reject them. We call some stupid, some smart. But unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong inside our OWN heads, we aren't particularly OFFENDED at the stupid ones. LOL, it's ONLY an IDEA! Bad, good, stupid, smart. Why should an IDEA, be offensive? Especially, if the idea is COMPLIMENTARY? However untrue a NICE thing might be, you wouldn't NORMALLY be offended by the IDEA of a nice thing, would you? We aren't offended that soldiers would want to die for our home country. So why, then, when hearing NEWS of an Ultimate Soldier Dying for Us, true or not -- why be OFFENDED? Makes no sense.
But sense is not important, to the offended: FEELING is important. So, if a drug makes you FEEL good, you'll take it -- never mind that it hurts you. So, if a message FEELS bad, you'll reject it -- never mind that it rescues you. Brain is out, because feeling is in. If confronted with the stupidity of rejecting the message, one often FEELS guilt. Still the brain is not on. One just changes FEELINGS. Brain then supports feeling, opposite the Divine Design of soul-running body via brain. See how HELPLESS we are? How CALLOUSED to sensing TRUTH?
How calloused must one be, to treat the Gospel as an INSULT? Do you know, even holy books 'feel' supernaturally insulted by the Gospel. The average devotee of any such books won't necessarily even UNDERSTAND the protest against the Gospel in such books. The protest is too SMART: that fact was a most surprising discovery, during my research for the "Appendix" of the Thinking series.
Look: why does the Koran repeatedly mock the Cross in every Sura? THERE ARE LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF REFERENCES. It's a FIXATION, in the Koran, to play off ORIGINAL-LANGUAGE Bible manuscripts (which at that time were protectively HIDDEN): going SO far as to change the COLOR of the red heifer, the Levitical COMMUNAL sin offering (Num19:2-10), to yellow: thus mocking the Cross by creating a COMMUNAL GOLDEN CALF (Al-Baqarah, Sura II, "Cow")! Moses made the people DRINK that calf when he melted it down, and many thus died (Ex32:20). The red heifer REPLACED the golden calf, even as Christ would REPLACE our own sins with Himself, see.
As illustrated in the "Appendix" of the "Thinking" series, the Cross is stridently mocked in most other A.D. holy books, and even in BIBLE TRANSLATIONS and commentaries, with no one the wiser. Amazing: each day since 1999 I've run across yet more genius mockings. See for yourself: pick up any other holy book written post-Cross, and you will find not just one, but MANY sly or BLATANT vituperative statements against the Cross -- especially, compared to the meanings of Bible in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGES. Why IS that?
But I remember feeling insulted at the Gospel, too: and LYING to myself about that fact. In high school ('68-'71), a really obnoxious Christian bugged me day after day and the prissiness was soo annoying. I stayed quiet, but thought.. oh, this can't be right. So I skipped right over the MESSAGE and thought instead about how obnoxious this high school 'buddy' was. I distinctly remember not wanting to give in to her incessant, legalistic whining about the Cross because I didn't want HER to have the pleasure of VICTORY OVER ME.
Whoa: did my thinking then reflect Satan's, or what? I might as well have been his mouthpiece, thinking EXACTLY THE SAME THOUGHT as he shows he's thinking in Matt4, a Bible chapter I probably hadn't ever READ. Nor UNDERSTOOD, until hearing my pastor's 1997 tapes which focused on it. Whoa. Because, in the Third Temptation, Satan proved he'd rather be ZAPPED by Christ, than give in. Satan was BAITING Christ in all Three Temptations, but the last one was anti-messianic: Satan was ALSO gambling on Christ zapping him, so he could be the messiah ("anti" first means "instead of"). And here I was, a dumb teenager, MIMICKING that same MOTIVE, nearly two millenia LATER. Yikes!
Whoa. Trapped laterally, we humans are all UNJUSTIFIABLY offended at the tender LOVE message that the Gospel communicates, viz., in Rom5:8 and John 3:16. You don't see any condemning there. So as believers, however BAD we might be, the core rejection we get isn't our own making. It's the trapped, hating the Free -- even though the Free bring a message of Freedom so the trapped can get OUT, Gal5:1!
Whoa. I remember FEELING like it was a LOSS OF LIFE to believe in Him, that first time I KNOWINGLY believed in Christ at age 18. It was the hardest thing, to do that: a kind of SURRENDER, a defeat. But I clearly knew beyond all doubt, understanding nothing, that if I wanted to live with God forever, I HAD to believe. So, I did. And felt truly DEFEATED, not elated. Ashamed to be so weak. But I did believe, because to live without God.. was an unbearable idea. Guess to others, it's more unbearable to live with Him. Non possum vivere tecum, nec sine te...
WHY THE HECK did I feel that way? Why would it be sooo hard to BELIEVE IN GOOD NEWS? Isn't it good news, to win money? Isn't it good news, to at least HEAR Someone loves you so much, He died for you? Even if you don't believe it, even if you think it's too good to be true.. why the HOSTILITY, and sense of DEFEAT at such a message? Do earthquake victims RESENT the ones RESCUING them? How could I have even been a moral person, to RESENT such a message? To consider it a matter of SURVIVAL to REJECT the message, and DEFEAT, to BELIEVE? Whoa. What an eye-opener, this trip down memory lane. I was thinking JUST LIKE SATAN! Didn't know that then, of course. Can SEE it now. Whoa.