The Unworkable Wedding
Imagine a wedding in which a young man and a young woman were being joined in holy matrimony. The vows taken by the groom were somewhat more extensive than the normal ones, his level of commitment being especially high. He was good with the love, honor, and cherish part, but he also agreed to put his bank account, which was substantial, in both of their names, provide a rather lavish home for them to live in, which included an exquisite wardrobe for her complete with jewelry and the whole 9 yards. He even agreed that should she ever be threatened, if necessary he would take a bullet for her.
Compared with these extensive vows exuding agape, her nuptials were notable for their lack of any substantive content. In essence she committed herself to take everything he offered but no more. This left her free to go back to her previous dating life with her old boyfriends, showing up at her new husband’s house only when she wanted to, which one sensed would be when money ran low.
The essence of these vows is that the groom provides everything for the bride but accepts the bride unconditionally.
Those attending the wedding had the feeling that though she might live happily ever after, he would not. They sensed that they were witnessing something very wrong.
Another Unworkable Wedding
The gospel presented by most contemporary evangelicals consigns Jesus to just this sort of arrangement.
He has committed everything to His bride, up to and including giving His life for her. In addition, He is providing an unspeakably fabulous eternal home, better than anything that the rich and famous ever imagined, and numerous other benefits.
On the part of the one receiving the gospel, he or she is only called to receive the gift of eternal life and all that goes with it. There is no call to repent of the old lifestyle, or obligation to live in fidelity to Christ. This leaves the new believer free to continue in sin, free of any commitment to the Lord.
In the previous post we demonstrated from Scripture how repugnant sin is to God. Imagine sharing a gospel that consigns God to live in an ongoing relationship that allows believers to live in infidelity. How would we do with it kind of relationship? My guess is not to well. How can we imagine that God is okay with it?
Trying to Make the Wedding Work
One response might embrace the supposition that when the unbeliever experiences this unconditional acceptance from Christ, he or she will respond spontaneously with corresponding commitment. This, of course, reflects the theory of Carl Rogers that unconditional acceptance is a change agent, that as a person experiences it, he or she will respond by developing into a fully functioning person. In previous posts we have shown how this response is not forthcoming either in the secular realm or among evangelicals. No evidence exists demonstrating that unconditional acceptance produces change.
Another response might be, “Isn’t grace wonderful,” marveling at the goodness of God in His willingness to enter into a totally one-sided relationship. The problem with this response is that this is not the nature of the grace conveyed in Scripture. Rather, as we have noted in previous posts, Scripture calls us to repentance and submission to the authority of Christ.
Can’t Make this Wedding Work
These observations bring us to the conclusion that consigning God to the type of wedding vows described above is neither biblical nor workable. Nor is it the type of arrangement to which we would consent. If contemporary evangelicals just put themselves in God’s place, they would realize the erroneous nature of this type of gospel presentation.
One final attempt to support this skewed arrangement is found in the position that when God looks on those who have received Christ, He does not see their sin but He only sees the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, a believer living in sin comprises no affront to God because He does not see his sin. I plan to address this perspective on Wednesday. Tomorrow I plan to discuss the compatibility between a biblical gospel and follow-up that leads to Christian living.