Recently my wife pointed out to me a rather pathetic, but amusing example of how minimal our culture has become. She had received as a gift what we understood to be those great tasting little chocolate sprinkles that you put on top of ice cream or cakes or whatever. Now sometimes, as we all know, those splendid little morsels are not always pure chocolate; sometimes those rascals put mere chocolate flavoring in those things. Well, that’s okay for the most part, in fact, sometimes you cannot even tell the difference between artificial and the real stuff. But these things were simply brown colored grease that made the roof of my mouth slimy.
Come to find out, these are not chocolate sprinkles, or even chocolate flavored sprinkles, but these are chocolate colored sprinkles. You read that right. They were not bursting with real chocolate flavor, or even synthetic chocolate flavor. In fact, they had no flavor whatsoever. All they had to offer was the color of chocolate. This little rip-off in the cake decoration section was only a bottle of brown lard sprinkles. Someone at the corporate level had determined to cut costs, or hassles or whatever, and be so intentionally minimalistic, they offered nothing even close to the real thing.
Seems today in the 21st century, the Church has, at times, figured out how to do that with Christ as well. If things continue the way they have been going, Christ will not accurately be communicated as God incarnate who saved the world, but only a pretty good guy with some good teachings. The empty Gospel.
Paul knew this was a threat, even in the ancient world, so he admonished the Colossians in 2:8 of that letter, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
In other words, “Don’t let anyone dilute the person and work of Christ.” The nature of careless people is going to minimize the greatness of Christ. In that respect, the Church, or any other agents of this ill-advised plan are playing into the hands of the enemy. The enemy would so like to minimalize the work of Christ so as to question the plausibility of salvation through Him altogether. Why would we as the Church let this happen?
Has our taste become so indiscriminate that we don’t notice? Or even worse that we don’t care? Maybe it continues to be offered up because we keep on accepting it. Be assured, our salvation is not found in “going” to church, or singing happy songs. It is not found in a social gospel or being good. It is found in the full Gospel truth. We are the last line of defense of the Gospel.
I say this not only to encourage pastors, but all Christians alike to be committed to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. That we would not minimize the message of salvation. For without that – we stand opposed to God. Without that – we remain enemies of God. Without that – we face a verdict of guilty. Without that – we look toward an eternity absent the presence of God. Without that we are only Christian impostors. Greasy, tasteless phonies.
Mankind is separated from God by sin. Christ bridges that gap through His blood and resurrection and we need to repent, turn away from sin. That is the message we need to communicate. We need to be authentic and genuine, through and through. Don’t settle for being a mere façade of a real believer. Don’t settle for anything less.