Simple distinctions can be the most important. In fact, often times they are ‘simple’ because they are so fundamental that there can really be no other alternative.
For example, if you are in the ocean, a lake or even a pool, ‘up’ is a simple but fundamental distinction. Driving? Which lane? Is it a one-way? Simple, fundamental distinctions.
So here is a simple, fundamental distinction- the Gospel is for sinners. Now, I know what you are thinking- DUH! But the problem is that we don’t think about the Gospel nearly as much as we drive, or even swim, and so it might not be as easy as you think.
How does this contrast to how we normally think about the Gospel? Well, normally we think about the Gospel being for . . . ready for it? . . . non-believers. Be honest, when you think about someone who needs to hear the Gospel, isn’t your first thought ‘non-believer?’ There is only one problem with that . . .
The Gospel is for sinners.
Which means (drum roll please) the Gospel is for Christians.
I know that you are saying ‘wait a minute, aren’t Christians people who have accepted the Gospel?’ (Theological plug- through faith by grace) Yes, of course. The mistake we make is that we assume that means that they have then ‘moved past’ the Gospel. Not so.
Because the Gospel is for sinners.
Let me ask you a question- how would our spiritual life change, by that I don’t mean from ‘lost’ to ‘found,’ if we lived knowing that our sins and failures were paid for by the grace of Jesus? We are all for receiving forgiveness in the things we did before we were Christians, but how about after? We seem to think that once we became Christians, we should have somehow become Christ. NONE of this to say that it doesn’t matter how we live. Anyone who is a Christian should have the Holy Spirit inside them telling them different. The issues is that so many Christians (this one included) seem to live saying ‘Lord, I’m going to make it up to you!’
“Lord, what fools these mortals be”
“You foolish Galatians! Let me ask you this: did you receive the Spirit through by works of the Law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now trying to be perfected by the flesh?!?” Gal 3:1-3