The Old News is Still the Good News
“They [those who deny Jesus] went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” – 1 John 2:19-21
Check out last week’s sermon here.
The idea of progress in many ways is deceiving. Solomon’s timeless statement, “...there is nothing new under the the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) rings true throughout history and very true today when thinking of “fresh” or progressive heresies.
New, Old Heresies
Heresy A: “I don’t buy the thought that God would send people to Hell for not believing in Jesus. God’s love wins in the end.”
That question is posed as if doctrines are pulled from thin air.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:18
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” – Hebrews 9:27
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” – Romans 1:18
Heresy B: “I don’t buy that God really desired Jesus to be killed on the cross for my sins. God willingly putting His wrath on Jesus is abuse!”
Of course, when one anthropomorphizes the eternal God, he/she would come to conclusions like this.
“He [God] who did not spare his own Son but gave him up FOR US [sinners] all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32 (Emphasis Added)
In our enlightened age, we see so much good and potential in the world. Humanity simply needs to bond together in love to accomplish great things. The God who is wrathful against sin is for another age of darkness. We are of the enlightened.
Just a few years back (approximately 1,900 years or so), Marcion of Sinope was so offended by the thought of a wrathful God against His own Son, that he threw out the Old Testament and much of the New Testament creating a brand new, nicer God who is: “…incapable of anger, entirely apathetic, free from all affections.”*
Marcion could not live with a God of wrath, and thus the “modern 21st century” view found among many progessive Christians was born…before 144 A.D. Thank God, Marcion’s teachings were condemned as heretical, and the God we see in the whole Old and New Testament was preserved in all His wonder, mystery, and glory.
Old News Is Still The Good News
“Tell me the old, old story…
With earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner
Whom Jesus came to save;” -Katherine Hankey
As Pastor Mike shared on Sunday, John in his letter was compelled to draw his “children” back to fundamental reminders about Christ. The fundamentals are learned and believed through the anointing, saving work of God in Christ (1 John 2:20).
Heresy C: “I don’t buy that there is only one way to God. Any good life and genuine religion is good enough.”
“No one who denies the Son has the Father.” – 1 John 2:23
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
We must cling to Christ, the real Christ as revealed in Scripture. Clinging to who Christ is will guard against error and is fundamental to being a Christian. Those who do not cling to Christ are, “…not of us.” (1 John 2:19). The old story of what Christ has done is where true Christianity lives. We must live there as well.
The Wrath-Love Gospel
I uphold the cross, its shame,
My sin was laid on Jesus’ back,
As the Father turned His,
Divine wrath poured on His Son;
I fall with tears, heart torn apart,
That God in kindness,
Planned salvation from the debt I owe;
I cheer the love, of Christ to save,
My life from death upon that tree;
I shout forever, “Christ is King!”
He rose victorious, my hope sealed;
I wait for Him, this final hour,
Divine Son returning,
He’ll make wrongs, right.
*Quote taken from “The Prophets, Volume II” by Abraham Heschel (p. 80)