“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” —Romans 1:16
We occasionally hear people talk about a “cringe factor” they experience in being a Christian. If we feel embarrassed by some aspect of Christian truth because it stands in contrast with conventional ideas, we may be tempted to alter or overlook it so as to make it acceptable to our hearers. We may be well motivated in our desire to be relevant, but we are misguided. In reducing any part of the uniqueness of Christian truth, we do not strengthen it, but weaken it.
We may try to reduce Christianity to the lowest common denominator with the world and end up with Christ as the one who serves our needs, fulfills our aspirations and endorses our values. We may feel good about that, but there is nothing transformational in this kind of Gospel as it merely affirms most of everything we already hold dear. It does not address the root of human alienation from God, and the corruptness of the human heart. It does not address the wrath of God that was so fully satisfied in the cross of Christ, and it does not bring us into union with Christ. We simply coast along with no expectation of the work of God in our lives.
The Gospel is confrontational because it is transformational. If there is no confrontation there will be no transformation. When we treat the Gospel as the spiritual dimension of the culture we live in, we are aligning ourselves with worldly ideals and speculation, but not the truth of God. If we are reducing the Gospel to people we are trying to reach, relaying only the palatable parts, we do them an injustice and we shortchange God. People need to know they are sinners, and this condition of being in sin keeps them alienated from God.
There is only one of two ways we can go in this life. We are either in a state of perishing, which if not rectified through the cross of Christ, will result in eternal separation from God. Or we can acknowledge we need saving and that in coming humbly to the cross of Christ, we have a Saviour who not only indwells us with His Spirit, but saves us to eternal life.
There is no doubt the Gospel is costly, because it involves submitting our lives to Christ, and living His way for His agenda. He becomes Lord, sovereign in our lives, and in exchange, we receive His life and the unlimited resources made available in Him. That is the adventure of the Christian life, and the Gospel everyone needs to hear.