In C. S. Lewis' masterful work, "The Screwtape Letters," Screwtape (the devil) instructs his minion, Wormwood, to keep the Christians distracted from Christ and God's wrath. Rather than announce his presence with direct attacks, Wormwood should try to get the church and Christians to become what he calls, "Christianity and _____." Christianity and the war. Christianity and poverty. Christianity and marriage. Christianity and how to be happy.
Many people argue that we are to make Christ relevant to our world as if Christ is not. Many stay away from preaching God's wrath and sin because it's a turn off.
The good news is precisely good news because we are guilty, but God did not leave us that way.
The good news is good news because while we are guilty, God sent His Son to take our place and die in our place - that's called grace.
And the good news is good news because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, we cannot help but be grateful.
That is the progression of the Gospel - Guilt-Grace-Gratitude.
And when we don't get this right, all we have is some platitudes and niceties about how we can live better lives and have better marriages. And this is critical because it's not only the church who can dispense such information. In fact, many times, the professional counselors and experts can give just as good, if not better, advice on how to live life.
But what only the church of Jesus Christ can share with the world is the good news of Jesus Christ. That we are all guilty, but through God's grace He made a way for us to be set free from condemnation, and because of what God has done, we are to live a life of gratitude.
There is way too much emphasis amongst Christians today on "What Would Jesus Do?" and not enough on "What has God already done in Jesus Christ?"
Thank God that Jesus saved this guilty sinner by His grace demonstrated in Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful!
Praise be to God!