The Gospel is the Law?

On March 11, Albert Tate preached from Ephesians at Fellowship Monrovia (audio link here). Around the 8:45 mark of the sermon, he says, "If you want to sum up the gospel in two verses, here it is: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Wow. Here's the context of this scripture from Luke 10:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ”Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, ”What is written in the Law? How do your read it?” And he answered, ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor a yourself.”  And he said to him, ”You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
— Luke 10:25-28 - ESV

So this verse is the summary of the LAW. Let's see what the New Testament says the Gospel is. 

Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 15 says: 

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
— 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 - ESV

The Law condemns. The Gospel saves. The Law convicts. The Gospel pays our penalty.

The Gospel is not what we do. It's what's been done for us. By God. Through Christ. 

If the Gospel were simply, "Love God and Love Others," there would be no need for Christ's death and resurrection. There would be no conflict between Christians and other religions. Who can argue that Albert Tate's gospel is "foolishness" as Paul said the Greeks said it was in 1 Corinthians 1:23? Many other religions preach Love God and your neighbor. 

The sad thing about calling this the gospel is that we can't do it. You and I cannot do this perfectly. Christ did. He died for our sins, which ultimately boil down to not loving God and not loving our neighbor.

Hearing God

I recently was asked what to say when someone claims, "God told me..." All I could think was

  • Test it against scripture
  • Pray about it
  • If it's something you want to hear, it's probably not God (the Holy Spirit never nudges me to keep doing the things I like doing).
  • If it's a message for someone else, you'd better be right

What would you say?

Dear Mom of Two (point) Five Boys

Dear Mom-of-Two-Boys-Who's-Expecting-a-Third,

I saw your post on Facebook that that showed the dresses you saved from your childhood that won't be worn by your daughters and I'd like to ask a favor. Raise your boys well. My daughters will need men who love the Lord. Who respect women. Who work hard. 

Please model the type of woman you want your boys to marry. The type of woman you want your grandchildren raised by. 

Thank you in advance for the next 18+ years of tripping over limbs of action figures that have been detached from Iron Man and his friends. Thanks for loving your sons enough to tell them, "No." Thank you for loving your sons in a way that only you can. Our girls will need their love and gentleness one day.

Olympics and Marriage

Last night I realized my wife and I haven't been talking as much over the past week. I blame the Olympics. We've stayed up too late watching whatever sports come on, whether we are interested in them or not. Although we love figure (apparently not ice) skating, NBC wants to lock us in to the night by showing us a few skaters per hour. After the second hour, I turned the TV off in the middle of the half-pipe snowboarding event and said to my wife, "I'm turning this off for us. We really don't care about this event."