I spend so much of my time offending and being offended over petty things (like someone insulting the Kentucky Wildcats— or these more serious subjects addressed in previous posts: Art, Language) that I often forget to be offensive about the one thing in my life that I should be: the gospel.
The gospel is offensive because it tells us that we are wrong, that we shouldn’t be in control of our lives, that we aren’t the rulers of our own little kingdoms after all. The gospel shows us our own imperfections, and what is more offensive than that? Beyond that, it is even more offensive because we know it is true— we are messed up somehow, as much as we try to hide it, to excuse it, to make up for it. The gospel tells us that we are not enough to satisfy ourselves. We are not the ones the universe revolves around. And we will be judged for our sins. This is why the gospel is so offensive, so terrifying, so disgusting to some people— it tells us the truth that we’ve been trying to avoid all along. No wonder so many people deny the existence of absolute truth— they’re afraid it’s actually true.
But the gospel is good news, right? Of course, but it is only good news for those who decide to accept it as truth, to admit their own flaws, and put someone else (God) in charge of their lives. For those who refuse to do that, it is terrible news and it is extremely offensive. It tells them that they having been living their lives wrong all along and that when they die, they will pay for it.
But that’s exactly what the gospel says. We’ve all sinned, we’ve all messed up beyond hope, and we’re all bound for hell (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But then we come to the crux of this message, where it really becomes the good news: there is hope (Romans 5:8). Of course, this hope isn’t found in ourselves, as we would like it to be. It is found in Christ (Ephesians 2:8)— the Son of God who was killed because his message and his life were so offensive.
As a Christian, I know all this, and I say I believe it, and I may even be able to gulp up the courage to say it to other people every once in a while. But, as David Platt asked in his video, do I really live like I believe this? I know the gospel is offensive to those who don’t believe, but is it really, deep down in my gut, offensive to me as well? Am I offended that the God I worship condemns people to hell? If that doesn’t twist a knife into my stomach, why do I so often act like it does?
If I really believe the gospel, if I really believe that millions of people in the world right now are going to spend eternity separated from God, why am I so content to sit around and do nothing? I pray that it is not because I am offended by the same gospel through which I claim salvation. Instead, let me be offended by my own complacency and selfishness. God, move me to be offensive with the gospel, rather than offended by the gospel.
Perhaps it is time for us to put down our hand-drawn signs— one with a “D” and the other with the shape of a fence— and start hitting some three-pointers. Perhaps it is time for us to stop being offended by everyone and everything else, and start being the offense. God help us if we don’t,
“For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory…”— Luke 9:26, ESV
Of course, not only should we, as Christians, be offensive with the gospel, but we should also be offended when its truth is distorted. A false gospel is no gospel at all, in whatever form it may come.