We are nearing the end of our mid-week messages on "8 Assumptions Pastors Can't Make in a Post-Christian Era." These last two may surprise you. Today we come to #7 which is:
A Recognition of the Need for Salvation
This seems so basic for us but remember, we are talking about a "post-Christian culture." The author of the article, Dr. Karl Vaters, says, "If there's no understanding of sin, [last week's assumption] there's no need for salvation...Instead of knowing they are lost, people feel lonely and disconnected. An awareness of sin has given way to a sense of hopelessness. And self-discovery has replaced a desire to be saved."
We are introduced to our need for salvation on the first page of the Bible! Our first parents broke the one and only commandment they had been given. From their standpoint God was asking too much, forbidding too much, to impose one simple commandment. And as the old hymn says, "In Adam's fall we sinned all." We lost Paradise and haven't been able to get past the cherubim with flaming swords ever since. We need help. We need salvation!
In the introduction to John Owen's classic, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, J.I. Packer supports this concern when he distinguishes between the old gospel and the "new gospel." The latter, he says, is exclusively "concerned to be helpful to man, to bring peace, comfort, happiness, satisfaction—and too little concerned to glorify God. The old gospel was helpful too—more so, indeed, than is the new—for its first concern was always to give glory to God. It was always and essentially a proclamation of Divine sovereignty, in mercy and judgment, a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good...Whereas the chief aim of the old was to teach men to worship God, the concern of the new seems limited to making them feel better."
We are a church that preaches and teaches the old gospel. As Paul makes clear in Galatians, the new gospel is no gospel at all! We all need to be saved from our sins. Jesus has paid the price and only His blood, received by faith, can get us past the cherubim.