Myth 5. The Gospel is to love God and love people.
One angry member of an emergent church recently launched some stinging criticism at the way I evangelize. The conversation went something like this:
EMERGENT: It really offends me how you use the ten commandments to show people their guilt. You are such a legalist. Instead, you should only tell them to love God and love people - that's all they need to do.
CAMERON: How are you doing at loving God and loving people?
E: I'm doing quite a good job of it actually.
C: Do you see your problem here?
E: What problem?
C: Loving God supremely and loving your neighbor as yourself is Jesus' summation of the whole ten commandments. You are suggesting that I should stop being a "legalist" and instead tell people to keep the whole ten commandments. Worse than that, you actually think that you are doing a good job of keeping the law. If you really understood what Jesus was saying, it would not comfort you, but speak condemnation to you because of your utter failure and inability to keep it. If you really understood this you would desire a substitute Who has fulfilled this law that you cannot keep. You are calling people to meet the requirements of God's law whereas I am using the law to show people that they cannot keep it and need a Savior instead. Can you see who is the legalist here?
E: I don't know why I waste my time on legalists like you. I need to get back to reading "A New Kind of Christian".
If we understood Jesus rightly when He says to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourself. If we understand Jesus rightly here, then this verse does not speak comfort to us – it speaks condemnation. How are you doing at keeping the law?
This is why the Gospel is not about doing anything but about what Christ has already done in the place of sinners. This is why the Gospel is not about keeping the law but pointing us to the One Who fulfilled all righteousness. This is why the Gospel is not about a righteousness that we have done but a righteousness imputed to our account. This is why Jesus is much more than an example, He is a substitute for sinners who cry out in repentance and faith. This is why we cannot live the Gospel, because the Gospel is testifying to the One Who did what we can never do!
Truth 5. Telling people that to love God and love people is the gospel is actually telling them to keep the whole law in order to be saved.
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