Tuesday, March 11, 2008

That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over.

In the church mail today was a tract, one of those "Good News & Bad News" types.

The cover art was attractive, so I thought I'd check it out.

Early on I read this:
"Because of our sin, we have earned eternal separation from the God who created us. This is the bad news."

I thought, "If I was a non-Christian, would I think this was bad news?"

Honestly, would a non-Christian (i.e., one who hates God) really care that he/she doesn't get to hang out with God?

"Eternal separation from God" is almost as impotent as a "Christ-less eternity."

Non-Christian, let me speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15) ...

The "Bad News" is that you stand under the wrath of a holy God because of your sin(fulness) and apart from having God's anger appeased by Christ's work on the cross for you, which happens through faith alone in Him, you will endure an eternity in hell, where God is not absent, but rather afflicts you with His wrath forever more.

Now THAT is bad news.


At 11 March, 2008 19:42, Blogger etoc said...

Alright, I hate to say it as I'm sure Oilcan will come after me ;-0, but I disagree. What I mean is this: the way you state the "bad news" makes God the bad news--He's coming, He's gunning, and you're gonna burn. God, known, available, and sacrificially for us is the gospel--the good news. How can He also be the bad? While I'm not disagreeing with your theology here, I'm disagreeing with the communication emphasis.

So, what is my take on the bad news? "You." You are the bad news. God--allowing everything that is wrong with you, missing from you, and that you yearn for but choose against--to continue and in-fact drastically increase as He allows you to complete the trajectory of your life lived in abandonment and opposition to Him is the bad news. He really doesn't have to "do" anything to you other than let you continue to build your own prison of, well, you.

Paul put it this way in Rom. 1:24, God "gave them up to...their desires." Sinners in the hands of an angry God--that gets your attention. Sinners in the hands of their own resolute disobedient independence--that gets you Hell.As C.S. Lewis puts it, Hell is "the greatest monument to human freedom." In the end, "there are only two kinds of people--those who say 'Thy will be done' to God, or those to whom God in the end says, 'Thy will be done.'" Now that, I think, given the inkling that most unsaved have that their lives are filled with pain and not what they wish it were, is bad news.

At 12 March, 2008 09:13, Blogger Timothy said...

Hi Gunny,
Very good presentation of the gospel. Too bad more tracks and gospel presentations can't be more forthright...

Too many focus on the love of God, and most of our generations says, "but of course God loves me... I'm so lovable!!!"

At 12 March, 2008 12:16, Anonymous Lionel Woods said...

So etoc would you disagree with this:

John 3:36
36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him

The bad news is that He is coming, He is gunning and you will suffer His wrath when He does. So "you" are not the bad news. The wrath of God is the bad news. Can you show me a non-believer "yearing" for God. The bible says "each has gone his own way".

Finally you said this which is the most alarming:

"Now that, I think, given the inkling that most unsaved have that their lives are filled with pain and not what they wish it were, is bad news"

This cats are living it up bro. The picture that they are filled with sorrow, and pain is hogwash. They "are lovers of self" and enjoy diobeying God in the light bro. They live to disobey Him. The enjoy not only involving themselves in wickedness but invinting others to do the same. This is why the "wrath of God is revealed from heaven". I was one of them. I loved my sin and enjoyed it daily. I was having the time of my life. I didn't walk are like Eore saying "woe is me". Then at one moment Christ opened by eyes to my own wickedness and for the first time I realized that I was a sinner. I don't look at the non-believer in arrogance I look at them with a deep burden that God would intervene in their lives as He did mine and call them to Himself. But the who pain and sorrow deal is hogwash. Go to the nightclub this weekend and you will see it firsthand.

At 12 March, 2008 13:29, Blogger Lance said...

I have observed in the book of Acts that the apostles never tell unbelievers that God loves them.

Peter, though, seems pretty intent on the fact that his first audience to hear a Petrine sermon is in big kahuna trouble with the Lord.

And so they respond, "What must we do?!!"

So many of them repent, get baptized, and enjoy the love of the Saints.

At 13 March, 2008 07:10, Blogger etoc said...

My post did not argue the exclusion of wrath, but placing it in it's biblical context of God's love. It is a juvenile mistake to contrast love and wrath as if they're in opposition. God's wrath is not despite God's love; God's wrath is precisely BECAUSE of God's love. As a parent displays intense anger and moves towards grave consequences with a child who is becoming a drug addict out of their deep love for their child, so it is with God. You don't actually understand God's wrath unless you understand how it is an expression of His love. And, I'd be careful about mocking God's love as the weak presentation of His character. We're talking about Holy love embued with His perfections, not some kind of weak, standardless love that accepts anything as you seem to imply.

Good news is incomplete unless love, and God's saving actions for us that flows out of it, is part of the news, which it wasn't.

As for John 3:36, Amen. However, it has it's context, doesn't it? John 3:16-18 reads:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

Last thing: I don't think the unsaved are walking around like Eyore, filled with sorrow and pain. But, I've talked to enough of them and was one myself--enough to argue that they DO have an intuitive sense that they're missing something, that everything's not delivering what they're looking for, that they're on a nonstop treadmill of trying. Let me clarify my prior statement. The bad news for you and God is you--the choice you've made to embrace sin and run from God. The good news is, He runs after you despite that pleading with you to turn.

At 13 March, 2008 10:20, Blogger GUNNY said...

etoc wrote:
"It is a juvenile mistake to contrast love and wrath as if they're in opposition."

We're not tender, are we, brother?


and etoc wrote:
"He really doesn't have to "do" anything to you other than let you continue to build your own prison of, well, you."

I can appreciate that the humans themselves are the root of the problem, but those enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season would likely find your depiction ... well ... juvenile.

Okay, maybe not "juvenile," but I don't think what they would perceive their freedom, to be and do as they please, sobering in the least.

From God's perspective and from that of the regenerate, I would agree that God's punishment is to allow them more and more rope for their own hanging.

However, there is worse news than that. God is at the same time the worst nightmare of some and the greatest joy of others, just as we are the stench of death to some.

Let me see if I can analogize. I get the impression you're saying that cigarette smoking is the bad news. "You smoke cigarettes and that's not good for you."

I would say the bad news is that, "because you've been smoking cigarettes for 40 years, you have cancer and are going to die."

At 13 March, 2008 11:05, Blogger etoc said...

nah-no tenderness, only "righteous" indignation conveyed through indequate attempts at acerbic wit (I DID at least put it in quotation marks)! "Elementary" might be a better word than juvenile. The limits of too small a brain...

Nonetheless, your analogy is helpful. I don't see a fundamental difference between the two phrases you use to convey the bad news. One is more complete than the other and draws out the implications, but the essential message in both is that you're stupid and you're toast as a result. The problem (you smoking) has worked itself out to the problem you now face (death)-a little "dying you shall die" anyone?

What's helpful about your analogy is precisely what you label it as: "bad news." That is at odds with your original post in which you labeled such news as "good news." This ain't the good news. The good news is that, despite the fact that you've been the problem--choosing to smoke which is not good for you leading to cancer and death--I've got a cure that I'm willing to make available to you though you don't deserve it because I love you anyway. Was that anywhere in your original "good news?"

No tenderness now. I agree you can't get good news without bad news first setting the context. My point is that setting the context of bad news alone does not convey good news.

At 13 March, 2008 11:38, Blogger GUNNY said...

You've thoroughly confused me, which is not hard to do, given the smallness of my brain.

etoc wrote:
"That is at odds with your original post in which you labeled such news as 'good news.'"

But ... I never labeled anything "Good news" nor did I attempt to define it.

etoc wrote:
"My point is that setting the context of bad news alone does not convey good news."

Oh, I agree. My original post was just challenging the validity of the "Bad News" of the tract.

My contention, however, is that the "Bad News" rightly conveyed tills a more fertile garden for the seed of the "Good News" in which to grow.

At 13 March, 2008 18:20, Blogger etoc said...

Completely my bad. Along the way, got on the good news track rather than bad news. Hopefully the skubalos I spreadthat wasn't pertinent to the original discussion makes the garden that more nutrient rich.

At 13 March, 2008 19:10, Blogger Jesus Girl said...

"...the "Bad News" rightly conveyed tills a more fertile garden for the seed of the "Good News" in which to grow."


Isn't growing th seed of good news the whole purpose anyway?

Your lofty arguements are far too advanced my inferior species of brain.

At 13 March, 2008 21:36, Blogger GUNNY said...

Very eloquently said, brother.

Somebody was paying attention in Greek class.


Incidentally, I do like your, "We have diagnosed the problem, and the problem is you" approach.

I think that's a message that more Americanos need to hear.


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