It is an old cliche and if you spent anytime around and Christians you may have heard them say, “well the gospel is offensive. ” While this comment is accurate have we ever sat and thought why this true, and what this means for Christians? Well the truth in the statement lies in just that, the truth. Truth often offends people. Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t sing, or that you do have some sort of problem. When we hear these things we go on the offensive and become defensive. When you are on the outside of that truth it is something you do not want to hear.
So what does the Gospel say about those on the outside?
It says a few things like that we are “born in wrath to God,” “alienated/hostile in mind/evil in deeds,” “dead,” and “children of the devil.” None of those little blurbs are very encouraging, nor are they what people want to hear. That their life is an offense and open rebellion to God. This is why people do not want to hear it, people do not enjoy the truth when the truth is opposite of who they are. We come to God offering nothing, it is all dependent upon him and not us.
The gospel is offensive because it relates so close to home. The very things that Jesus teaches against are the things that we are so often in the act of doing. It is offensive because there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t be good enough, pay enough, nothing we do is enough. This is offensive to human pride that nothing we do can change this state. The Bible does not say good things about those outside of Christ, because there is nothing good but Christ.
Don’t Treat Non-Belivers Like Believers
Be careful though not to hold the unregenerate to the same standards as the regenerate. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 1:18, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, and the well-spring of life for those who believe. Don’t be surprised when sinners sin, it is their nature like it was in us before Christ. They will not believe like Christians, nor will they live a Christian life so do not expect that.
Nothing good will come out of this. So instead of seeking out to condemn those outside the faith, and telling them how awful they are maybe our efforts will be better spent meeting them where they are at.
We Don’t Have to be Offensive
The Gospel is offensive, but that does not mean we have to be though. The way that people in society treat homosexuals is a prime example I believe. Nothing about the way many Christians treats the gay community show love. So before you call that kid out for wearing a hat to church, or condemning someone due to their sexual preference remember something very important. People that are lost are going to hell, an eternity separated from God. That is not offensive to me but heartbreaking, when we are offensive we are pushing people away instead of toward the cross. Make sure we are showing them Jesus.
This doesn’t mean we shy away from sins, but we let Christ do the work because he is the only one that can save. Treat them with love, gentleness, and with a genuine spirit. Once they come to know the Lord, then we can deal with the sin issue.
Hold Believers Accountable
Do not be afraid though to call those out though who claim to be in Christ but do not show it. Although it is common belief that you cannot judge a regenerate believer that is simply untrue as I wrote here. The gospel will still offend us as believers, because it will correct and it will rebuke parts of our lives. Let us push each other towards righteousness even if for a time it offends us.
The Gospel will offend, it will also bring dead people to life. Soli Deo Gloria.