Why Is The Gospel of Christ Offensive?
1 Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God
When 1 Corinthians 1:18 speaks about the “message of the cross”, Paul is speaking about the Gospel.
Paul is saying that the gospel is foolish and offensive to those who are headed for destruction in hell.
It is a tragedy that the very message that could save many people from eternal punishment can be utterly rejected and viewed as foolish by the people who reject it.
What Is The Gospel? What Does The Gospel Entail?
First let’s look at how the gospel is defined in the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 the gospel entails the following:
1. the death or crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the sins of mankind on the cross (verse 3)
2. the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (verse 4)
3. In verses 1 and 2, Paul says that this is the gospel that he preached and that it is the gospel by which a person is saved.
However, even though the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), this message of the cross is viewed as unpopular, offensive and regarded as foolish by many people around the world.
Why is the gospel offensive? Why do people reject it? Why is it received as foolishness?
FOUR REASONS WHY THE GOSPEL IS OFFENSIVE
1. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD & PARADISE
Many are offended that Jesus Christ is the only way to God or Heaven. Many people are of the belief that there is more than one way to God or that there are many paths that lead to the same God. People view the idea of Christ being the only way as a narrow-minded view. They also claim that such a narrow-minded view is offensive to people of other beliefs and religions.
However, Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to God
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Acts 4:11-12 – This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
2. SURRENDERING & DENYING YOURSELF
Many people find it offensive and even foolish that they would have to give up all their sinful desires and gratifications if they become Christians. Many people still want to hold onto their own desires and lifestyle where it is they who are in full control of their life and not Christ. They will not trust God or put their life into God’s hands for various reasons. They are still content with controlling their own life and having God out of the picture. Therefore proposing that they give up the pleasures of sin or to give up their own self-ambitions may be offensive and foolish.
In John 3:19-20, Jesus says: And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
However, the message of the cross requires that one surrenders his/her life to Christ. It is no longer we who live, but it is Christ who must live in us (Galatians 2:20). Therefore Christ increases while we decrease.
Since Jesus Christ became our Substitute on the cross by dying for our sins, the Scriptures teach us that we should no longer live according to our own flesh or sin nature. Instead all who are in Christ will have to put on Christ as a new creation. Romans 13:14 says: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Matthew 16:24-26 – Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
3. SURRENDERING FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD
The Bible is clear that the systems and philosophies of the world are at enmity with God. The world hates God.
Many people will find the gospel offensive or foolish because they will not give up their friendship with the world. In other words, they may love the wisdom and ideologies of the world; they may also love all the material and social temptations that the world offers. They may also love the recognition that they have from the world.
Examples of ideologies and philosophies of the world include examples such as atheism, evolution, New Age religions, liberalism, political ideologies, occultism, witchcraft and many other worldviews and belief systems.
Colossians 2:8 says: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
The gospel message requires giving up friendship with the ideologies and philosophies of the world so that The Bible becomes the ultimate and infallible authority in the life of the Christian believer.
Therefore God’s word supersedes every other ideology, argument, perception or system that comes from the world.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
James 4:4 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
4. BELIEVING IN A FALSE GOSPEL
The gospel message speaks of the love of God. In John 3:16 God was motivated by love such that He sent Christ to pay for our sins so that if we believe in Him, we will not perish but have eternal life.
The gospel message also speaks of the grace of God. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we are told that we are saved by grace and not by our own works or effort. Our salvation is 100% the work of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and His resurrection. Salvation is a free gift received through faith in Jesus Christ.
However, some people believe in a false gospel and not the true gospel of Christ according to the Scriptures. Therefore believing in a false gospel can lead to one believing that the true message of the cross to be foolish, offensive, simplistic, unimportant or incomplete. The true gospel is about Christ being crucified for our sins and how we are able to receive His free gift of eternal life by believing in Him and trusting Him to be Lord and Saviour in our life. The true gospel exalts Christ and not man’s effort. The true gospel has no connections with materialism and the acquiring of money. The true gospel teaches that grace is not a license to sin. The true gospel helps us to yearn to be more like Jesus Christ.
Therefore believing a false gospel, puts people in a situation where they oppose, distort or even deny the true message of the cross and its purpose for mankind.
Examples of false gospels that distort the true gospel of Christ are the prosperity gospel, hyper grace / antinomianism, universalism, salvation by works and various Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation teachings.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Galatians 1:6-8 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
1 Corinthians 1:22-23 – For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-3, Paul says the following: And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
The gospel message is totally about Christ and Him crucified for the sins of mankind. Jesus took our place on the cross because He became our Substitute and He bore all our sins on the cross. The crucifixion of Christ on the cross is the most loving and gracious act God has done for mankind.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We cannot pay for our own sins. Our own works of righteousness are not enough to reconcile us with God. Instead it is because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, in our place, and for our sins, that we can become saved. To receive Jesus Christ we simply need to believe the true gospel. All we need to do is to believe in Him and receive Jesus Christ through faith.
John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “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” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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