We see our churches today filled with a call to self-fulfillment rather than a call to self-denial. We see our evangelists today urging for a call to simply believe in the idea of Jesus rather than a call to repentance and saving faith in Jesus. We see our Christians today boldly proclaiming that they accepted the Creator of the Universe into their heart rather than receiving His gift of atonement for our sins that we have transgressed against our Creator.
These changes in terminology goes far beyond just semantics. They have far-reaching consequences on the Gospel. In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus says:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
We often hear the Gospel is simple and easy, and to be saved all you have to do is to say this prayer. The Gospel is simple but it is not easy. The unvarnished, unaltered, unavoidable truth of the Gospel is that it is actually hard to believe. In fact, if the sinner is left to himself, it is absolutely impossible to believe.
We must be faithful to proclaim the entire unaltered Gospel. The offensive truth of our own sin and utterly incapability of pleasing God, the scandalous message of grace, the shameful cross of Christ, the foolishness of the message, the reality of repentance, and the cost of following Christ.
A.W. Tozer was an American Christian pastor who firmly attacked those in evangelical Christianity who were touting easy-believism. Here is one of my favorite quotes that challenges me to be faithful to the Biblical Gospel set before us in Scripture.
“But if I come and say let him deny thyself now this is just what we dare to tell people these days. This is just what the evangelist of another day told people, but this is just what we are afraid to tell them now.
Let him deny himself and in the dim light of modern religious notion there is an odd thought that Christ would paint such an option before people and that he should lay down a condition for following Him. A condition that is exactly contrary to human nature.
Nobody wants to deny himself. We want to preserve ourselves and self-preservation is the first law of nature according to everything I’ve heard. And yet He lays down a condition for following Him that runs exactly contrary to human nature, runs contrary to everything taught in school, contrary to the instincts of self-preservation.
It arises all the self-power against Jesus Christ and cuts down on the number that would come. Our Lord plainly and often cut down on the number of those that would come and in doing it He stacks up the quality of those who would come.
But we stepped up the quantity and we don’t care too much about the quality. If we can just get them to come, if we can just get them forward and say five-hundred and six came. Well, our Lord cared very little about how many came.
But He said if anybody would come, let him come, I came to die for him and am rising to plead for him.
And if he comes, let him deny himself.”