Scripture: Galatians 4:3-7
This morning I read an article called, “Moralism is not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think it Is),” by Dr. Al Mohler (President of my seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary ’76). Here are some thoughts I have from this article.
One of the most dangerous false gospels is moralism or what I call false religion. The basic structure of moralism comes down to the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.
Much of Christendom today is communicating to lost persons the message that what GOD desires for them and demands of them is to get their lives straight. This is much of what the Church is known for today. It does not appeal to the longings and yearnings of lost people created in the image of GOD who are searching for deeper things in life and who are searching for answers to the ultimate questions of life: Who am I? Why do I exist? What is the meaning of life? Isn’t there more to life than this?
People who are “raised right” emerge as adults who obey the laws, respect their neighbors, give at least lip service to religious expectations, and stay away from scandal. People negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes (religion). Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. This mind-set enslaves believers and does not register with individuals who are seeking ultimate truth.
As the Church continues propagating this dangerous lie we subvert the authentic Gospel and we communicate a false gospel to a fallen world. It reduces the Bible to a codebook for human behavior and substitutes moral instruction for the Gospel of JESUS.
In Galatians 2:16 Paul does not mince his words: “A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in CHRIST JESUS, even we have believed in CHRIST JESUS, so that we may be justified by faith in CHRIST and not by works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of CHRIST transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of GOD. The authentic Gospel is “the power of GOD unto salvation to all who believe” (Romans 1:16). The authentic Gospel is the rock upon which JESUS is building His Church. As the Church proclaims the authentic gospel of JESUS the very gates of hades will not have the strength to prevail against it (Matthew 13:16-19). Why would we want to compromise the authentic Gospel of JESUS by substituting this powerful truth with political and moralistic debate?
This is the glory and power of Easter and why it is absolutely imperative that the Church rise up and crazily celebrate as never before. I am not motivated to celebrate a legal or moralistic argument. But I will be counted among others who will go bonkers this Easter in celebrating the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST . . . the most incredible historical event the world has ever known!
JESUS is Risen . . . !