Whenever the topic of evangelism comes up I am met with varied levels of resistance. To be sure I am wont to bring the topic up often when around other Christians. Shocking I know. For the most part, when I broach the topic with other Christians they quickly want to shift the subject to anything else. The most frequent statement I hear from others about the topic is “I live the Gospel in my daily life.”
This is simply an excuse to justify disobedience to the Great Commission. Moreover, I do not think that most who use “I live the Gospel” mean what they say. They are simply looking for a way out of an uncomfortable situation.
Look, let’s be honest. When we are confronted with an area where we are in sin, we want to hide from the light. This is the normal response of any person. In particular, we see this played out most evidently in the lives of unbelievers. However, it also affects the believer. I deal with it often. I hate having my sin exposed, and my wife can attest to that.
Furthermore, I don’t want to say that I am okay with people making excuses, but I understand. Accordingly, I will listen patiently to what I know are merely excuses for their disobedience. Moreover, God is incredibly patient with me when I sin and make excuses. I am glad He did not strike me down at my first sin. Furthermore, it isn’t my role to strike anyone down.
Conversely, it isn’t good for any of us to sit silently listening to excuses without pointing those excuses out. Moreover, we are not loving our brothers and sisters as Christ loved us, if we do not speak to the sin directly.
But How Is It Blasphemy
Some of you may be asking how is it blasphemous to say, “I live the Gospel”? Trust me when I tell you that I know it seems rather heavy handed. However, I believe I can make my case if you bear me with for just a bit.
Biblical blasphemy is an attitude of disrespect that finds expression in an act directed against the character of God. Having typed out that sentence I feel as if I could end whole article right there. However, I am not sure any of you would find that answer sufficient.
Therefore, I will start with the deity of Christ. In numerous places in the Gospels Jesus declares Himself to be God. In fact, in several instances when Christ does this He is accused of blasphemy. The Jews saw any act where a mere man attempted to make himself an equal to God as blasphemous.
Moreover, in being fully God (Hypostatic Union) and fully man, Christ was doing something that none of us could accomplish. He was resisting every temptation that any of us would ever face. Subsequently, having encountered every temptation and resisted it He did what was required of us. He kept the Eternal Moral Law of God perfectly.
Christ was not only the Word by which everything was created. He was also the Perfect Law Keeper. Moreover, in being that Perfect Law Keeper, He was able to be the Perfect Propitiation. He was the Wrath Absorbing Lamb.
Consequently, His death, burial and resurrection could only be executed by Him. No other could ever be all these things. Therefore, Scripture refers to Him as the Lamb of God and the Lamb slain before the foundation of the Earth.
So, when people say “I live the Gospel” they are claiming the ability to do what only Christ could do. This is blasphemous!
Stealing Christ’s Glory
It is imperative for us to get this right. No matter the reason for saying it, the one who utters the words, “I just live the Gospel”, is insulting Christ. They are showing rank disrespect for God the Son. This may not be their intent, but it is the result of such a statement.
Consider what it means by considering this; and this will be terribly lacking. Imagine that I spend a year building a beautiful bedroom set for my wife. I labor over this project for hours and hours every day. I finally present it to her and she is stricken by its beauty and the craftsmanship.
The next day visitors come to our home and my son is showing them around the house. As they come to the master bedroom they see the beautiful handcrafted furniture. They speak of its beauty and the work that had to have gone in to making it. They look to my son and ask, “Who did such fine and beautiful work?”
My son replies, “Why it was me. I labored over that work for hours and days and months. It is a display of my love and dedication to my mother.”
The visitors would at that point cease lauding the beauty of the hand-crafted furniture. Instead they would shift their praise to my son. They would comment about his dedication and his creative mind. They would shower him with undeserved compliments. He has stolen my deserved praise.
This is what you have done when you say, “I just live the Gospel”. When you are confronted with the truth of your failure to be obedient to the Great Commission and instead claim Christ’s work as your own, you are insulting The Son of God. You are blaspheming Christ.
Why You Cannot Live The Gospel
Just like the son in my analogy above, you have taken credit for something you did not do. It is only the Perfect Son of God who can live the Gospel. That is because Christ is the Gospel. He is the perfect work of obedience to the greatest of commandments. Christ alone honored and loved God with every fiber of His being. He was the perfect embodiment of the second greatest commandment. He alone loved neighbor as He loved Himself.
Furthermore, it was Christ and Christ alone who accomplished that work. Instead of insulting Him by claiming His work as yours as an excuse to continue in sin you should instead repent. You simply cannot live the Gospel. It was only Christ that could do such a thing. Moreover, He did it with such fervent dedication to the task He shed His own blood in the doing.
Therefore, until you have resisted temptation to the point of the shedding of your own blood, you cannot live the Gospel. Make no mistake, you will never resist temptation in the way Christ did. You will never love the God the way Christ does. You will never love neighbor as yourself. Moreover, you demonstrate your lack of love for God and neighbor when you excuse your disobedience to the Gospel Command by claiming you just live the Gospel.
There Is Grace
As heavy as this may seem as an accusation, I want you all to know that I say and do things I should not all of the time. I am prone to passive aggressive posting on social media when I am upset. I tend to make myself the judge of righteousness when I think someone is wrong. Moreover, in writing this article I have had to check my heart and make sure I was not sinfully directing it at any one person.
I had a dear brother, one of the men on the board of the ministry, review this for me. He pointed me to the Gospel and encouraged me to point my readers there as well. Ironically, in an article about the Gospel, I forgot the Gospel.
Therefore, if you are like me, and I am sure you are, there is forgiveness for the sinful things we say and do. Even if they are not fully intentional. Christ died for our self-righteousness as much as for our blasphemy. When you catch yourself in one of those moments where you are about to say something like “I live the Gospel out in my neighborhood” turn to Christ and thank him for interceding for you.
I will simply end with this. Guard yourself against allowing such blasphemy to escape your lips in the future. To that end, from now on, when I am confronted with such a statement I will hold the one who utters it accountable and point out their blasphemy. I would ask others to do the same for me when I am in sin.
If you take exception with this thought I welcome your thoughts and critique. All I ask is that you not bring ready made excuses to the conversation. Let’s delve into Scripture together and see if we can reason together.
Soli Deo Gloria!