We come to chapter 2 of Radical by David Platt. This chapter is all about our incredible dependence upon God. There is nothing in this world we have which is not from him. It is so easy to water down and to trivialize the gospel message, but there is nothing more valuable in this world.
The problem is that we often have a high view of ourselves and a low view of God. We see ourselves as more righteous than we truly are. We see ourselves as basically good people who need a little help along the way. After all we are Americans. We see the role of Jesus to make us a little better than we are now to help get us over the hump. Our motto is: God helps those who help themselves – even though it is not in the Bible. We fall prey to the self-help gospel, which is really no gospel at all.
The gospel we uphold is often short-sighted. It fails grasp our true place before God. The Bible describes all our good deeds us as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). To think we have any place or standing before God is rather presumptuous. Even if God helped those who help themselves, we are incapable of helping ourselves in regard to the things of God.
The starting point of our Christian faith is “you are wrong” and “you are bad.” That is not a message most people want to hear. This is the radicalness of this message. We would like to think there is something redeeming about us. Yet, it is not until we come to the end of ourselves that the true nature of God’s work begins to take effect and we begin to grasp how much Jesus truly means to us.
One of the things that struck me the most in this chapter was when David Platt spoke about the catch phrases that are used such as “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.” Jesus does need our acceptance. That would be like the accused criminal saying he accepts the judge’s verdict. The appropriate response for the criminal is to plead for mercy. The criminal has no claim before the judge.
Our understanding of the gospel is everything. If we get this wrong, we will get everything else wrong. If you hold to a corrupted gospel you will get a corrupted faith. Without the gospel we go on believing our filthy rags are of value, when all the while Jesus is holding out priceless treasure. From the gospel we receive motivation, inspiration, reason to give all, and reason to loose all. In sum: it means everything!
So what do you think? In the comments section – feel free to share what the gospel message means to you.