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Christianity Godfidence Theology

Good News V. Good Advice

Good News V. Good Advice

Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”

It has recently become fashionable for Christians to say quote this scripture as though the Gospel or good news is that we no longer have to obey the law but simply love God. That takes this verse out of its context and neglects the fact that Jesus followed this with “All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.” So, it seems, in the place of the Law we are preaching Law-lite. We neglect to include all the details of the law that “Love the Lord” summarizes we are left to find those rules on our own and if we do so we will be fine. That makes the Gospel good advice and not good news.

Luther when told by his Cardinal to simply “love God” his response was “Love God? Sometimes I hate him.” We are not capable of loving God or our neighbor in the way the Law commands by our very nature. If it were possible for us to fulfill the Law then we would have no need of a savior, only a helper.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. – I Cor. 15:2-6

The Good News is an event that occurred outside of our influence that we not reap the rewards of, not advice to be followed. We are sent to be his witnesses not his advice givers, witnesses implies a fact and not merely an opinion. The problem that arises when we reduce the Gospel, or Christianity, to a set of morals or a ‘better way to live’ is that it then becomes a subjective matter of opinion. The response “Well that is good for you but not for me” becomes perfectly valid, however when we are no longer discussing opinions, plans, advice or ideas, but historical facts then we are no longer dealing with the subjective. When we focus no longer on our ability, or lack there of to follow the gospel but on the grace of God and the sacrifice of his Son then we are truly talking about good news and not simply good advice.

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