The Original Message
It cannot be overstated that the message of that ancient and authentic Gospel is a very positive one for those who truly give their heart to Christ. It is a message of immanent and radical change for the better. Jesus said it this way as He spoke of the divine intentions regarding His redemptive work. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed...”
The Apostle, Paul wrote this, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Obviously, the redemptive work of Christ will not leave us unchanged. Rather, it is a work of real liberation and true transformation.
And, the message of the authentic Gospel of Christ is one of power. Again, Paul wrote in the book of Romans, chapter 6, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you...”
Christ, Our Perfect Way Back
Here, then, in a very basic, overview form, is the larger redemptive picture. It begins with the reality that God has always held, and continues to hold, the expectation of sensitive obedience from His people. Man failed that expectation when Adam and Eve chose to become self-determined, to do things their own way. God, then, mercifully offered a way back to a truly meaningful friendship with Him.
But again, this was no “Band-Aid Redemption.” It was a thorough healing of the rift – the cause, as well as the effect. And this divine remedy has now been playing out over many centuries. But, in these New Testament times, we now know that Christ is the sum total of that divine redemptive plan. He is the means to meet both man’s need for restoration, and his need for renewal. And, He serves these two purposes in two distinct roles.
In His role as the Dying Christ of the Cross, He brings to mankind forgiveness and reconciliation to God. In His role as the Living Christ of the Resurrection, He brings an empowered renewal to the believer enabling him or her to comfortably meet God’s expectation of sensitive and consistent faith-expressiveness.
So, the redeemed are not merely reconciled to God through the death of Christ. They are also empowered to meet God’s expectation of consistent faith as they share in the empowering vitality of Living Christ through their very real Spiritual merger with Him.
And this symbiotic life in Christ results in a very natural, everyday friendship which is intimate, deeply meaningful, and completely fulfilling. The apostle, Paul, wrote of this dual-phased redemption this way, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
This, then, is the authentic Gospel message, a message of forgiveness and real elevation for the believer, which is all singularly enabled by Jesus Christ. It is a message of the vanquished sinful reality of self-determination and an empowered faith which consistently expresses itself in our daily lives. This is the authentic Gospel given to and experienced by the Church across all of its previous historical ages.
But That Was Then...
But, that was then; and, this is now. In these more recent times, there is a competing approach to relationship with God, a “treacherously revised gospel.” As noted earlier, it is an antichrist approach that touts the “non-responsibility” of the believer. Under this approach, the believer sees himself as necessarily released from all accountability for his lifestyle realities.
The Foundational Idea
Again, the foundational idea of this approach is that man, even redeemed man, is simply not capable of rising above a lifestyle of daily sin in some form. This is the Prime Tenet of this non-responsibility gospel. This idea of mankind’s incorrigible waywardness is then extended to the conclusion that if man is not capable of rising above sin, a just God cannot and does not require him to do so. All else in this corrupted gospel stems from this progression.
The Term, Itself
But, before we go further with this explanation, let’s briefly consider more specifically the term “Non-responsible,” itself. We’ve chosen to use this term instead of “Irresponsible” to stay clear of the idea of intentional carelessness. A conscious and willful disregard of their responsibility is largely not the situation with those who subscribe to this bogus gospel. Rather, the more accurate description is one where those subscribers are simply unaware of any compelling responsibility on the part of the believer.
The New Version
So, here, in essence, is the prevailing grassroots thinking across the modern American Protestant / Evangelical Church regarding Christian redemption. What follows is, in a nutshell, the corrupted, “pop-theology” that is presently carrying the day, numerically, across this segment of the modern Church.
But, please understand, this is not to say that this non-responsible idea has changed the formal theological positions of the various denominations involved. Oh no, those positions, and the books they reside in, are still quite safe and intact in their ivy covered collegiate enclaves.
Rather, far worse, this idea is moving through and becoming deeply engrained in the American Church as simply, the everyday, practical theology of rank and file believers. And, in this way, this theological virus is able to easily transcend those more formal and traditional theological borders and books since those are mostly ignored at this grass roots level.
So, subsequent to their statement of faith in Christ, by far, the dominant, everyday, working theology in the mind of the American Protestant/Evangelical at the rank and file level has come to be this. “Because I, even as a believer, cannot live above sin, then grace has to mean mercy (unmerited favor). And, righteousness has to be merely assigned (imputed) to me in Christ without any basis in my own reality. And, God’s love has to be always unconditional. And, faith can impose no necessity of material expression in my lifestyle. All of this must be so in order for me to become entirely non-responsible before God, and thereby, to become able to survive His scrutiny of my life.”
This Changes Everything
Thus, this non-responsible approach changes everything. Obviously, a radical revision to the authentic Gospel becomes absolutely necessary in order to substantiate this idea that a believer is not held accountable by God for his or her lifestyle reality. This revision must happen because the authentic Gospel never held any expectation that a believer would peacefully coexist with dominating sin in an environment of non-responsibility.
Rather, the ancient expectation, as we’ve seen, was the absolute conquest of both the essential sin motive within the believer’s heart and its real expressions in his or her life. So, when we subscribe, instead, to the idea of a comfortable coexistence with both, it does, indeed, change everything.
The Perfect Example: THE “ROMAN DILEMMA”
We can look to the writings of Paul for a perfect picture of what this antichrist gospel considers the normal and unalterable state of the believer. In the passage which follows, Paul is simply putting himself in the place of the novice Christian and identifying with their struggles as he writes this in chapter 7 of the book of Romans. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
The Devil’s Normal
The condition which Paul describes here might, indeed, be correctly understood as that “Incorrigible Sin Motive” which still exists in the subconscious of a new believer. But, God has the perfect remedy for this condition in the Living Christ, as we shall see. Nevertheless, the contention of the antichrist gospel is that this frustrating condition is the normal and enduring condition of the believer – an every day and life-long dilemma which the believer cannot escape.
But, in fact, we will discover, that this is absolutely not true. In truth, this confliction is shown to be a very abnormal and temporary condition when viewed through the lens of the authentic redemptive process. And, in fact, Paul goes on in chapter 8 of the book of Romans to clearly expose the believer’s deliverance from this condition through the Living Christ.
Discrediting the Non-responsible Approach
And really, to expose the remedy for this “Roman Dilemma” is to completely discredit the prime tenet of the non-responsible approach to relationship with God. To refresh that idea, it holds that human beings, even redeemed human beings, are not capable of consistently living above the essential sin motive of self-determination.
So, the idea is that even believers, remain compelled by the self (sin) motive within, to gratify their own desires in various ways – even at the expense of God’s. And so, again, the thought necessarily follows that since it is impossible for the believer to resist the sin impulse, God cannot and does not require this of mankind in this life.
But, if, in fact, a remedy can be shown to exist for this chronic waywardness which Paul clearly describes here in Romans, then the non-responsible approach to relationship with God is, indeed, entirely discredited. This is true because its prime tenet, which holds that there is no such remedy, is shown to be an error.
But, before we directly address this Roman Dilemma, it is necessary to first confirm an accurate and uncorrupted understanding of the most essential concepts of the Christian faith. So, let’s briefly leave this Roman question for now to begin this confirmation in the next section.
There we will simply take a little time to correctly re-set those most critical concepts of redemption as we, at the same time, expose the corrupting revisions made to them in these more modern times by this antichrist gospel. And, then we will return to this Roman Dilemma and directly address the picture which the apostle paints here.
[Continue to Section 5]
[Continue to Section 5]