The Gospel according to whom? Part II
In my last column, I talked about the gospel of Jesus and the gospel of the world, ending with this question: “Which gospel are you following?” Are you following a humanistic view of self-preservation, or are you submitting everything to Jesus and giving all glory to God?
A Kingdom mindset means realizing that we are at war. It’s not a war with another country or with others; it’s a war between our sinful nature and the Spirit of the Lord in us. In our new birth in Jesus, we died to our sinful nature . . . but we are still at war with it.
Galatians 5 talks about freedom in Christ and a life lived by the Spirit. The sinful nature that still dwells within us has evil intentions. It seeks to keep us from obeying the truth; it can throw us into confusion and it can be fueled by people who are actively walking in their sinful nature. These people may not even be aware that they are living from the view of their sinful nature. They could be leaders, public speakers, well-meaning fellow Christians. They themselves may have been running a good race, until someone cut in and swayed them from the truth. This can happen swiftly or gradually. Disillusionment can come in the form of love, but it is anything but loving. The kingdom of the world will say that to love someone authentically means we need to change our belief structure to love. It demands that “love” means affirming and accepting all behaviour that is sin. This is not love, no matter how well packaged it is, or how compelling the story.
If our gospel message changes to indulge the sinful nature, then we have also fallen into a worldly mindset. We have been called into a life of freedom directed by the Spirit instead of by our sinful nature. This is why we find ourselves at war.
The fruit of walking in the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We are commanded to keep in step with the Spirit always. This means that as we put to death our worldly thinking, we ask the Spirit to reveal how we are to live an eternal, kingdom way of life.
“Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,” 2 Corinthians 10:12 says. “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s hard to take captive and make obedient to Christ some of the more subtle acts of our sinful nature, such as hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy.
In my own life, it was easy to embrace a gay identity and indulge in sexual immorality. It felt good, and I fully embraced a worldly perspective that God created me this way and nothing could change this ideology. This lasted for many years, until God came and revealed his truth to me. His truth came with a kingdom perspective that every part of my life needed to come under submission to his loving headship. It was hard and chaotic at times, yet I encountered freedom through the Spirit’s power. Not a freedom that took away my struggle but one that empowered me to fight the good fight against my sinful nature and to be led by the Spirit always. May the Lord encourage you as you fight the good fight, and may he give you peace and joy in the journey.