Galatians 2:5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
What is the Gospel Truth? Is it what I say it is, or what I show it to be? Is it what Paul declared it to be, or what he displayed in his life? Is the Gospel Truth what the Church expresses in its doctrines, or what a congregation practices in its mission?
Today, we are all struggling with the Gospel because there are so many different variations of its teachings and interpretations of its practices that one size doesn't fit all anymore. Christians are as diverse as the human population in the world; as each generation comes and goes, our faith evolves and expands into something different, something unexpected, and something new.
For long term Christians like me, this becomes an honest hardship because the Faith that I was attracted to almost forty years ago, has developed into something unimaginable for me. The spiritual safety barriers and sacred security fences that I had built and maintained are no longer there. The boundaries that I once bellowed about, have all been broken down and there’s nothing that I can do to change this. To even attempt it, would be like trying to rebuild the Berlin Wall in Germany – it just cannot be done ever again.
So what is Gospel Truth? Who decides? Has what Paul battled for been forsaken? Are we in danger of shaping our beliefs and molding Christ into our own idolatrous standards and ideas?
Of course, we are. We are only human and we need to create our own Christianity in order to cope with life. My Christianity is as different from your Christianity as my interests, pursuits, and goals are from yours. But that doesn't make our faith ineffective; instead it makes our beliefs relevant to both of us. Christ died for all of us – liberal and progressive, conservative and assertive Christians alike. In His wisdom, He created a multi-colored theological tapestry of all nations, which He calls The Church – therefore we are all made and shaped by Him – and that’s the Gospel Truth.
Questions for personal reflection
What personal beliefs do I hold strongly about Jesus? Do my deeds display those beliefs?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have called us to Your heart independently and individually of each other. We each have something special to contribute to the Christian faith. Help us to see Your influence in how we all practice our faith. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask a question, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings. It’s called ‘Star of Gethsemane.’ In it, Jesus is depicted with eyes puffed up from crying and his face is covered with blood and sweat as He agonizes over accepting God’s Will. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7320/11183575774_4971232f95_b.jpg