Redemption and Grace and Our Father’s Car


Redemption: Our Father in heaven saw that what He had created was good but that man’s sin was destroying what had been created-relationships, the earth and hope.

Our Father in heaven declared through Old Testament Scriptures that a huge price had to be paid to redeem the lost and hurting world. A “suffering servant” was prophesied to us through Israel’s prophet Isaiah. So, God sent his Son to pay that price.

Sure there were others who raised their hands bidding in hope of redemption but they always came up short. Only the Man Christ Jesus could pay the ultimate price of redemption so that we, adopted children, could be given the keys to the Kingdom and drive Our Father’s car.


“But now, quite apart from the law (though the law and the prophets bore witness to it), God’s covenant justice comes into operation through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah, for the benefit of all who have faith. For there is no distinction: all sinned, and fell short of god’s glory-and by God’s grace they are freely declared to be right, to be members of the covenant, through the redemption which is found in the Messiah Jesus.” (Emphasis mine.) The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Rome, chapter 3: 21-24


But when it comes to mercy, God is rich! He had such great love for us that he took us at the very point where we were dead through our offenses, and made us alive together with the king. (Yes, you are saved by sheer grace!) He raised us up with him, and made us sit with him-in the heavenly places, in King Jesus! This was so that in the ages to come he could show just how unbelievably rich his grace is, the kindness he has shown to us in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis mine.) The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Ephesus, chapter 2: 4-7


Jesus speaking to his eager-to-be-first disciples:

If any of you wants to be first, he must be slave of all. That’s how it is with the son of man: he didn’t come to have servants obey him, but to be a servant-and to give his life as ‘a ransom for many’. (Emphasis mine.) The Gospel according to eyewitness Matthew, chapter 20:28.

The True Gospel

I am a conservative Christian. What this means is that I believe that the Bible is God’s Word, that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate and that our salvation is only through Jesus Christ, His death on a cross and His resurrection. There is no other means of salvation.

How do I know? The Bible is a collection of writings penned by ordinary men whom God has spoken through. These writing are God-breathed.  They reveal the truth about God. 

The Bible contains True myth (the Creation) along with historical eyewitness accounts, wisdom literature, prophecy and letters written by the early apostles.

Jesus, the central figure of the Bible, is a historical figure in space and time. This cannot be denied. And, after fifty eight-years of following Christ I know that Jesus Christ is alive and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I have no doubt whatsoever.

I use the word conservative because there are those who superimpose teaching which projects their own thoughts and feelings onto Scripture thus making their version of the gospel a synthesis of good and evil.  Also, consider that some churches will teach that homosexuality is acceptable because of some romantic and cheapened version of grace.

There are also those who teach that the Bible teaches you how to become wealthy and prosperous. And there are those, social gospel proponents like Jim Wallis and his Sojourners group, who believe that the Bible tells us to rid the world of hunger and poverty, that the wealthy need to do their “fair” share. These same people will tell you that their ‘righteous’ ends justify the means.

There are many who teach a Gospel that is not from God. Their gospel is based on a very human desire to augment the truth with feelings of social compassion, wish-fulfillment and downright denial of its truth to further their political and social agendas. Many people will folow these teachings because the message is one they want to hear:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Galatia.

What is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
1. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament of the coming Redeemer.
2. Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
3. Jesus Christ lived a perfect sinless life for us. He became sin for us.
4. Jesus Christ died for my sins, once and for all.
5. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He conquered death that I might have eternal life.
6. Jesus Christ ascended to heaven.  There,  He intercedes for me before the Father. If I sin I have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
7. Jesus Christ is coming back to take His people home to heaven.

What can you do?
Confess that you are a sinner in need of Christ’s salvation.
“Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy upon me a sinner.”
“Lord Jesus Christ save me.”
Tell God that you willingly repent of your sins.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Be saved. Tell the Lord that you believe on Him.
Attend a Bible teaching church where the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is offered each week. You will need both, not just preaching, or you will fall away.
Be baptized as testimony of your conversion to Christ.

If you do not hear these words at the church you are attending, if instead you hear about how to clean the environment, how to work to get the government to redistribute wealth, how to make money following Christ or how to become an advocate for the earth, the air, the water, the animals, sexual orientation and a host of other causes, then you are not hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you do not hear teachings about sin, the coming judgment, about heaven and hell than you are not hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Social gospel” is someone’s version of a “kinder, gentler” version of the gospel.  Presenters of this gospel teach that the rich should be shaken down and despoiled for the sake of the poor. They will teach that government should do this through taxes and wealth redistribution. They elevate government to a place of god-like status. Further, this type of gospel avoids the tragic view of man and his need for redemption.  It presents only what it deems the more ‘positive, social’ aspects of the gospel.  Its saccharin message is much like Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley telling us to think “Happy Thoughts.” Stay away from the placebo-like effects of “social gospel” preaching. If the Lord tells you to give to the poor, then give to the poor out of your own pocket.

There are false ‘gospels’ everywhere which will appeal to your ego, to your grandiosity.  The preaching of this ‘gospel’ will compel you to go out and change the world, to save our planet, to seek social fairness and social justice, to accept homosexuality and sexual perversity as just human foibles and to not call homosexuality what the Bible calls it – sin.  Beware. The “weeds” are presenting their gospel to you. Who are the weeds?  Listen to what Jesus said in the Gospel according to Matthew:

” Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.  “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”  He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple and straightforward.  If after hearing the Gospel you filled with a desire to change the world then you have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You have heard your own ego boasting with pride of its own greatness.  The Good Seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ starts growing in the person who knows he is a sinner and desperately needs Christ’s salvation.  Christ does not need your salvation of the planet or of the poor. Beware of false gospels.  There is “No other Gospel” than what is stated above.

The Theory of Social Gospel Relativity

“You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

Increasingly I hear about a new and ‘relevant’ kind of ‘gospel’ called “social gospel”. The marketers of this ‘qualified’ gospel are saying that our government must be the instrument to meet human need. Perhaps this social gospel policy is an extrapolation of James’ admonition to the church in Jerusalem “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” Perhaps it is an extension of the Good Samaritan parable or and maybe it is an inference to the feeding of the five thousand. In any case, it is a stretch to fit any of the Gospel texts to fit their meaning of ‘social gospel’ as a national domestic policy.

More to my point: I have recently been reading the apostle Paul’s letters, specifically Corinthians and Galatians. I see how very much Paul desired to maintain the purity of the Gospel at all costs. My first and only concern in writing this post is how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being used today to market social justice in the political arena. Especially after hearing a ‘Christian’ in that context say that “wealth redistribution is what Jesus would do”. This is completely false and misleading.

WWJD: In his letter, the Lord’s brother James describes a practical close-to-home “work” to help those who are not able to help themselves. The Good Samaritan parable tells me who my neighbor is: He is a person you meet with a need. The parable also shows me how I am to treat my neighbor when a need arises: use my resources to help and then followup. Jesus fed the five thousand as a sign of His Person and His Power. This sign revealed His ability to provide for me in any situation. I am to depend on Him. He controls the outcomes. He controls the government, even in a Democracy. Nowhere is it written or inferred in the Bible that a socialized gospel should become a government’s domestic policy. Nowhere is it written that people should be forced to pay for others. Jesus never pushed political agendas and He certainly never taught that coercion in any form was the answer to need.

At no time did Jesus offer to heal or feed the entire world. At no time did Jesus demand that the Roman government feed or take care of the entire world, civilized or otherwise. Of course, Jesus could have said and done these things but He did not. He did not infer that his disciples would do this. Jesus did talk about individual responsibility and accountability to God, His Father, and to one’s close-to-home neighbor. He never talked about collective compassion or wealth redistribution. He never said “it takes a village to raise a child.” He did talk about the widow who, without coercion, freely gave her mite unto God. This willing, sacrificial act, done in secret, was an act of love for God and for her neighbor. The current social ‘gospel-eers’ market their brand of ‘gospel’ on the main stream media.

Having read and studied the synoptic Gospels and the letters of the Apostle Paul many times over I do not see any form of socialized or collectivized gospel in any way, shape or form within these writings. What I do see now, though, is that the true Gospel is being used as advertising label for a type of religious social movement in the US. This branding, I believe, would attract many Christian college students. These students are ready to take on the world; they are chomping at the bit for worthy causes. The social gospel gurus are very eager to take them into their fold. Many of the gurus are sixties radicals, now recycled and looking to make something of themselves before they pass on.

At no time did Jesus ever speak to his disciples about being a disciple of social need. As a Christian, you are not a disciple of a political-social-economic system or of a community organizer. Being absolutely and singularly identified with Jesus and His Kingdom is the key here. The medium (Christ’s disciple) is the message, so to speak.

You should know that it was the disciple Judas, the community organizer, who wanted a social gospel. Judas thought that Jesus would make the perfect radical. He thought that Jesus could bring about sweeping political, social and economic change for the struggling people of Judea. Judas, as the disciple’s treasurer, controlled the purse strings of charitable donations. He controlled the money bags of what he hoped would become a social gospel. Judas believed in the power of wealth redistribution, especially for himself. This is no different from the social gospel being preached today: control money and throw money at a problem to make it go away. This is what today’s political progressivism is all about. And, that is exactly what Judas does at the end of his life – throw money at the feet of the Pharisees. Judas, as we all know,  had betrayed Jesus, a political neutral, because Jesus didn’t fit the social gospel paradigm desired by Judas. To Judas, Jesus didn’t do what radicals are supposed to do: revolt, reign and redistribute. Akeldama, the field of blood, is where Judas ended his cutting-edge version of social gospel.

Let’s make it simple: Social gospel is progressivism and progressivism is a form of paganism and this paganism says that “You don’t need God. You can have effective social engineering in place of religious belief. You don’t need Christ. You have us. You can have our ‘gospel’ policies to meet your needs. We will throw in Jesus for free. Why look elsewhere.” Clearly, this form of ‘gospel’ is a subversion of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and it wrought by the Evil One. This form of gospel is a synthesis of good and “sounds good” at its core.

The Apostle Paul makes it even simpler: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian church.

May God give me the grace and the resources to help others as He shows me their need! Having said this, I do not want a progressive political social agenda enacted to determine my personal gospel outreach (and thereby make it vicarious) through a forced redistribution of wealth to the poor. I believe compassion and empathy are to be individual, one-on-one matters, separate from the government’s intrusion, imposition and inefficiencies.

Regarding the Church, the Body of Christ: The apostle Paul, speaking in his Corinthian letters, desires that the church keep itself pure and undefiled just like his desire for the Gospel of our Lord. To me, the church is becoming a political organism and the social gospel I’m hearing about is another gospel – a gospel for a utopian society. The Lord knows what His Body needs. He will do what is necessary.

This post is not about being cruel and unkind to people. Rather, this post is about keeping the Gospel of Jesus Christ pure and undefiled by the world.  The pure and undefiled ‘religion’ of Christianity is about helping widows and orphans in their distress.  It is about offering a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.  This ‘religion’ is not to be synthesized into a government policy.  We as Christians should seek and pray that government will stand back and let us do good works.  We must maintain our liberty and freedom from government and its coercion (being unjustly taxed to pay for social programs) in order that we may continue to help those in need, freely, with love.

For more information see my 09-15-2010 post about Stolen Goods.