The Quality of Your Faith is Your Foundation
Many of the versions of the “gospel” taught today are not worth dying for. Sure, they make promises that are attractive. They come with fun inducements to the flesh. They seem close to the true Gospel of Jesus using His name and claiming to work for Him. Yet, they are not the real Gospel of Jesus Christ. That precious jewel has transformed even the most cowardly fools into fearless warriors for Christ. The versions of “gospel-lite”, on the other hand, offer nothing for the most important moment of life – facing death. They don’t have the power that compels joy in the face of suffering.
There is a huge difference between praying for God’s blessing for selfish gain and facing down Roman legions or ISIS executioners. The power of the Holy Spirit only comes with accepting the real Gospel of Jesus. The counterfeit doctrines of men are just that – of men. They are not worth living for, much less dying for.
The Faith of the Martyrs
I started attending church with my wife after we married. I called myself a “Christian”. I was not a follower of Christ no matter the title. I had a vague idea there was a “god” but it was largely cultural. I did not understand the Gospel of Jesus.
My concept of God was dictated by me. God was who I wanted Him to be. He approved of whatever I did, did not judge, and did not ask anything of me. God was limited to being a kindly old man sitting on a cloud to be called on when I needed something. Jesus serenly accepted anything I did and made me feel okay with my choices. He would forgive me for anything so why not do anything, I reasoned. God served and reflected me. He was a cosmic gumball machine there to give me treats when I put in a quarter. It is sad thinking about how wrong I was, now.
The first worldwide images of martyrdom began to fill television screens during this time. There were more people killed for their faith in the 21st Century than in the previous 1900 years combined. The internet guaranteed their broadcast. The ancient accounts of Christians thrown to the lions were brought to life for all believers with the deaths of these modern day Christians.
I was struck by a terrible truth while observing these events. I called myself a Christian. Yet, I knew I would have folded in the same situation. Offered the choice between life if I renounced my faith or death if I did not, I realized to my shame I would likely choose life. I held my life dear above anything else in this world.
This brought me shame as a church goer. I just did not understand why these poor Christians would not just lie or “fake it” for a little while or cross their fingers while renouncing their faith. It just made no sense to me. I felt like a bad person while I was desperately trying to be a “good Christian” according to my own definitions.
The problem was not with me and my character. I am no more or less brave then the next person. The issue was with my gospel. It was not a real Jesus that I believed in but one of my own creation. I did not have a true faith in the all powerful Living God as a result. Self serving faith is not worth dying for. A god who I make in my own imagination is just as worthless as one carved out of wood.
This is the problem with a Christian faith that revolves around you. Man centered faith does not even change how you live when things were easy. It falls apart completely when facing death. It is only when you have a true living faith that the fear of death melts away as a motivator. It is a replaced by a fear, a reverence for the God who gave His Son for you.
Paul addresses this in Galatians 1:10 when he states he cannot be a servant of God if he still feared men.
Charles Spurgeon used to call it a gospel worth dying for. It is a worthy challenge to any Christian:
Is the gospel you believe worth dying for?
- · The gospel of moral reform? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of save yourself through good works? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of social action and improvement? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of religious traditions? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of merely having spiritual conversations? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of mystical mumbo-jumbo? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel seeking the church of true hipness? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of self-esteem? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of ecological salvation? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of political correctness? Not worth dying for.
- · The gospel of emergent church feel-goodism? Not worth dying for.
There are so many answers to life’s questions out there. Are your answers worth dying for?