Last week I wrote about the Wishy Washy Gospel and how it omits key areas of biblical truth. I wrote about how it is evil for it refuses to acknowledge the existence of sin, Hell and the absolute sovereignty of God. I would rather an unconverted person grew up an atheist than under the devious lies of the Wishy Washy Gospel.
What I want to concentrate on today is the evils of the Wishy Washy Gospel to the Christian. For make no mistake, if we accept what we are taught then we live by it. And if we live by the Wishy Washy Gospel we become Wishy Washy Christians.
The Christian Life is Hard
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4 v 8 – 9
This verse is the opposite of what the Wishy Washy Gospel would teach. For the Wishy Washy Gospel has no room for suffering, persecution and hardship. These things are ‘bad’ and God is ‘love’. According to the Wishy Washy Gospel all Christians should be prosperous, rich and dancing around mushrooms singing happy songs of happiness.
From a certain perspective this is right but at the same time so horribly wrong. For yes, we should always rejoice but we should rejoice for the right reasons. The Wishy Washy Gospel is in denial that things can go wrong. Yet this is at complete odds with the Bible’s view: Bad things will happen to you, people you love will hurt and betray you, suffering is part and parcel of this fallen world.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4 v 12 – 13
Peter gives us the real reason to rejoice: not because things are going well or we’re feeling pretty good but because we participate in the sufferings of Christ. Now there’s a challenge to us.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1 v 2 – 4
James highlights another reason why the Christian’s walk is difficult. We need trails in order that we might be reminded to turn to God, in order that we develop perseverance and so that our faith is strengthened. No wonder James tells us to rejoice!
If a Christian is taught only the Wishy Washy Gospel what comfort does it offer? Denial that bad things happen to Christians is borderland mental. It is only with the teaching of the true gospel that Christians can grasp that we suffer because God loves us not despite it.
As the author of Hebrews so wonderfully, so challengingly, puts it:
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12 v 7 - 11
Christians do sin
As I mentioned the last time the Wishy Washy Gospel does not preach sin so cannot teach that Christians sin. But we do.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7 v 15
Paul talks in Romans about the problem facing Christians. The good we want to do we do not do. And the evil we don’t want to do we do. Why is this? Why does a Christian, saved from sin, still sin?
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Romans 7 v 21 - 25
Let us all cry out with Paul: “What a wretches man I am!”
The Wishy Washy Gospel consistently fails to teach the continual repentance for sin a Christian has to do in life. We are saved through repentance and faith and we persevere through repentance and faith.
We are called to live Holy Lives
Important Life Fact Number 1: People hate being criticised. Important Life Fact Number 2: People need to be criticised.
The Wishy Washy Gospel is a weak, mild and altogether pathetic affair that would rather stick its head in the sand than acknowledge the need for challenging preaching. Biblical writes knew of no such qualms. The true gospel is always a challenging gospel both for non Christians and Christians.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12 v 1 – 3
If you read this and weren’t challenged by a failing in your Christian life read it until you are! And by biblical standards this is a relatively mild passage. The true gospel exhorts Christians to holy living.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."”
1 Peter 1 v 13 - 16
As you can see the true gospel is not weak but strong, not mild but searching and not pathetic but glorious.
There is still more I can and will say on the Wishy Washy Gospel. But for now I leave you with this saying of Paul:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
1 Corinthians 13 v 11
The Wishy Washy Gospel is a childish gospel, refusing to step up and answer difficult questions, refusing to face the realities of a sinful world and refusing to face the full glory and majesty of our holy God.
We need to put such juvenile things behind us. We need to be mature, adult and thoughtful. We need to make sure that we are under sound gospel teaching and despise those that omit the great and often difficult truths of the Bible.