I am going to take a brief break from the study on Ephesians because I recently read Michael Yousef’s important article sent out by Charisma News. In it, he was referring to II Corinthians 11:3-4 where Paul laments:
“I’m afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. When someone comes to you telling about another Yeshua whom we didn’t tell you about, you are willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you are also willing to put up with that. When someone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you already accepted, you are willing to put up with that too.”
Now, when Paul says that he is afraid that the believers in Corinth are being seduced away from a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ,” the word translated as “sincere,” literally means singleness and simplicity — picture a glass of clear water with no impurities or anything added. Scriptures often use the imagery of adultery to describe a faith which had things added to it. In the same way, whenever something harmful substance is added to pure water, the water has been adulterated. To adulterate is to taint and contaminate.
Yousef argues quite well, that the Western church has adulterated the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus Christ is simple and transparently clear — yet we have clouded and adulterated it with false philosophies, ideologies, and doctrines. We have added business principles, psychological principles, worldly philosophies, “new revelations,” political ideologies and human greed to the purity of the Gospel message. Then we call this poisonous stew “Christianity.”
We forget that the people of Israel never denied Yahweh. They continued to proclaim their love for Him; and they still offered Him sacrifices; they simply added a few “harmless” idols and practices borrowed from the Canaanites and the Philistines — just to make the Lord more “relevant.”
In His High Priestly prayer before going to the cross, Jesus prayed, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:15-17). We must never exchange the truth for a lie, remain set apart, clinging to the scandalous love of God that confounds the world but brings hope to the lost.
Lord, bring Your church to repentance and start with me! May I never add to Your perfect Gospel of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He alone is my rock and my righteousness. Let me not be a stumbling block to Your Truth by adding or taking away from the pure and simple Gospel. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
As Paul wrote, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not a gospel. But there are some who trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7)
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.