I attended a funeral today for a young man who committed suicide. Although his parents were not believers they opted to have the funeral conducted in a traditional church setting. As my wife and I sat through this event the tragedy was magnified by the apparent lack of hope offered by the Minister conducting the service, which was based more on pious platitudes, Celtic mythology and heart-tearing music, than a glorious eternity in Christ.
Admittedly, it is difficult to comfort an unbelieving family with the gospel when it is too late for the departed loved one, but that doesn’t mean we should invent an alternative gospel for unbelievers; based on – if the person was good, well liked, friendly, happy, etc. Personally, even though I felt great sadness for the young man’s family, I was deeply troubled that the blood of Jesus could be put to one side, and an alternative source of comforted packaged up for the bereaved family that was completely baseless in the eternal scheme of things. Especially within the context of the church which exists solely because of the shed blood of Christ.
What I’m getting at is this; either we are washed clean by placing faith in the sacrifice of Christ, or we are not. There is no middle ground, plan B, grey areas. That’s not to say that the slightest spark of faith is not sufficient to carry us from death to life – I am convinced that it is, and even that the mercy of God exceeds our human rationalizing of the process of becoming saved… but the fact remains, only the blood of Christ saves us, as the hymn writer said “we must gain an interest in His blood”.
I said all that to say this; Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, He did it for the purest of reasons ‘His unconditional love’, this love destroyed the power of sin, satan and death over our lives and is received by the simply process of placing faith in the blood of Christ. There is no interview process, no probationary period, no good works assessment, it is simply that we see that God’s love compelled Christ to give His life to make us His own, and in seeing that fact we turn our existence over to Him.
There is but one gospel message, only one… if we mix it with the ‘culture’ that masquerades as Christianity, if we mix it with our own character (no matter how noble), if we shape it to the viewpoint of society, it loses it’s substance and ceases to be the gospel.
It’s your blood that cleanses me…