You have a friend who can tell you so much about a certain Someone who is so in love with you, is ever-ready to defend you no matter how vile you and your crimes are and wants to bless you with all that He has, even when everyone else has rejected you and all look upon you with condemnation and disgust because of your many sins, addictions and how you are different from acceptable standards. Someone who took all the bad that you deserve so that you can keep on getting all the good that He deserves. Someone who died for you and will never condemn you, judge you or wonder why you just don’t want to stop sinning. Someone whose only demand of you is for you to take more and more and much more of His undeserved, unearned, unmerited favour (Grace) towards you.
Unlike the world that thinks you love to wallow in your sins, He knows that you really want to be good but cannot by your own will-power. He knows you don’t even understand what this “be good” means. He knows how warped, “different” and screwed up you can be and loves you still. He knows that you can’t save yourself from your many sins that you struggle to give up everyday so He came to save you from those sins. You’ll want to know more about this Someone. This is the Gospel and that Someone is Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:21 says of Him:
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
But in many “churches,” Christ isn’t portrayed as Advocate or Saviour from sins, if He is given any prominence at all. Rather, the thrust of preaching in many places of worship is wrongly portraying God as a hard Taskmaster who is eager to punish the sinner when he breaks the Law and let the devil have a go at him at the slightest opportunity. Many pulpits are being manned by prosecuting attorneys aka HaSatan, literally Hebrew for “prosecutor at Law” in Israel today.
People who are already doing their best to be obedient but can’t (because the arm of flesh will fail) go to church looking for Salvation, including salvation from their sins. But there they are told that God will punish them if they don’t obey the law and stop sinning by themselves, as if they had not been doing their best to obey. They are not pointed to Christ as the One who saves from sins. The Lord is presented as Punisher of sins and not Saviour from sins. This situation is akin to an oncologist father refusing to take care of his beloved child who has terminal cancer…. because the child has cancer. He even tells his beloved child “heal yourself of your cancer (of sin) or else I will punish you.”
More law is given to these beloved of God in church, but the very law that they are given makes them go and sin more, “For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under Grace.” Romans 6:14. Under law, sin has dominion.
The spirit of the antichrist is not anti-God. It is very legalistic and preaches very strongly on human striving at keeping the Law in order to attain godliness. Its hallmark is trying to reduce or remove the finished work of Christ who suffered and died to make us godly — Isaiah prophesied of Christ’s suffering for us in Isaiah 53. See the result of His decease which He accomplished at Jerusalem in Isaiah 53:11-
“After He has suffered, He will see the light of life. And He will be satisfied. My godly servant will make many people godly because of what He will accomplish. He will be punished for their sins.”
Through Christ’s decease that He accomplished, we who believe in Him have been made godly/to be like God. But in many churches, people are told to strive for godliness/get right with God by keeping the Law. This is not Christianity. In fact, this is how to get cut off from Christ: Galatians 5:4—
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”
Our hearts and minds are naturally averse to sitting under such teachings that tell us what we already know about ourselves but are powerless to change; teachings that condemn us and then increase the burden (of the law) that we are already unable to bear. It is against man and contrary to man; see Colossians 2:14– “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.” The letter (Law) kills. Christ has fulfilled its requirements for us.
The people yearn for the truth that makes free but what is being served in many places of worship is a horrid mixture of part-law and part-grace aka:
“Yes we are saved by Grace through faith but you still have to keep the Ten Commandments, not for justification before God but as a guiding principle for morality/to make yourself right with God/to escape burning in hell.”
This horrid mixture that is neither Law nor Grace is the “neither cold nor hot” that Christ spoke of in Revelation 3. It has dire consequences for those who follow it too:
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” Galatians 5:4.
Christ never condemns or judges the one who believes in Him, no matter how vile our sins are: John 3:
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
He died to free us from “every kind of sin”: Titus 2:14-
“He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”
No sin is too vile for Him to redeem the sinner who believes from. The way to get cut off from His saving power is to try to add our own human striving (arm of flesh that will fail) at keeping the Law to it and this is what many churchgoers are being asked to do- depend on the arm of flesh that will fail for salvation.
The Holy Spirit transforms us to life (see 2 Cor. 3:18.) 1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.” As He opens our eyes to Christ’s love for us more and more through True Grace preaching, not only do we desire to hear more about God’s saving Grace, hence our desire to be in places where the true gospel is preached, we get to live right too. In Christ, we get to live in triumph over sin and death. Romans 5:
16 “And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ.”
When and where the true gospel of righteousness by faith and not by works of the law is being preached, the exhortation to us in Hebrews 10:25- “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” becomes our default mode. We desire to be in the assembly of fellow believers.
Believers will swim oceans just to get to places where the true gospel is being preached. Christ does it all.