In last week’s article, “The Cost for Being Careless About Gospel,” we established how the Gospel is a standard and the central theme of the entire Bible. We can think of it like a balancing scale, weighing truth against error. But how much does the Gospel weigh? That might sound like a foolish question, but let’s take a moment to see how a balancing scale works. Basically, it is an arm extending from both sides with a fulcrum in the middle. A standardized weight is then placed on one side, and subsequently everything placed on the other arm of the scale with be measured and valued by that standardized weight. A false scale, as Proverbs states, uses a deceptive weight purported to be a standardized weight when it really is not. Consequently, everything weighed on that scale for the next five, ten, or a thousand years will have an erroneous result. A false scale just keeps on lying because the standard is wrong.
If we are going to use the Gospel as a standardized weight, knowing how much the Gospel weighs might be worth pondering. The prophet Zechariah gives us a clue:
And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Again, what was forecast in the Old Testament, is fulfilled in the New, and in Matthew 26:15 we see that when Judas asked the chief priests what price they would give for delivering Jesus to them, it says, “they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” This was the value the priests of that day placed on Jesus. But what follows is most significant. When Judas returns later to the chief priests and elders, he says:
I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. (Matthew 27:4-7)
It was the chief priests of that day, not Judas, who placed the value of Jesus and measured out thirty pieces of silver.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value. (Matthew 27:9)
But when Judas threw the money down on the temple floor, he realized that the money was worthless in comparison with the man he had betrayed. But even more so, it was a prophetic statement of God from centuries past that the value placed on Jesus would be as erroneous as it could possibly be.
The price of Jesus and what He did for us, weighed out, is immeasurable. When weighed against anything else, the Gospel always tips the scale. It is the standardized weight that no matter what you compare it with, the item you are weighing will come up lacking.
Over the centuries, man has come up with all sorts of ideas and philosophies that have only served to prove how priceless the Gospel really is. Jesus truly is the Son of God, and He truly paid our debt on the Cross. But today, more than ever, the Gospel is under attack, and we need to faithfully hold on to it and defend it as the standard that is true.
We are all too familiar with all the vain teachings that have been used to discredit the Gospel message over the last two thousand years. Paul warns to steer away from such teachings:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
To Timothy, whom he regarded as a son in the faith, Paul has a strong exhortation at the end of his first epistle:
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. (1 Timothy 6:20)
Having strongly opposed the Gospel in the past, Paul knew what it is to be greatly deceived by one’s own reasonings and the thoughts of the culture. He was recognized as one of the greatest intellectuals of his time, yet one day on a road to Damascus he discovered that all of his profound learning did not measure up to God’s standard. Paul later used his intellectual abilities to become one of the strongest defenders of the faith in human history.
Today, there is a whole barrage of religious leaders who use their intellectual prowess to persuade Christians to abandon the fundamentals of the Christian faith for something more intellectually palatable to the postmodern mind. These leaders are holding up a new standard suggesting the standard of the Gospel is outdated and a new standardized weight needs to be placed on the balance. Many of these emerging progressive leaders make it sound like they have made a new discovery that no one has thought of before they came along. Using their philosophical reasonings, you will hear them question how a God of love could send His son to die a cruel death on a cross for the sins of others. They will further maintain that a God of love would never send anyone to Hell – a place that in their own minds does not exist.2 Human reason then and not the teachings of the Bible become the tests of truth. You have perhaps seen book reviews of Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins where we learn that the long-held truths of the Bible must now bend to intellectual fabrications of what God must be like. Yes, a new standard has replaced the standard of the Gospel by which truth and all of Christian doctrine can be weighed. But this is nothing new, as philosophers of the past have believed that the human intellect is a wellspring of innate knowledge and ultimately the only source and deciding factor of truth.
The “New” Science vs. the Gospel
In this postmodern era, some arrive at many of the same conclusions from a slightly different vantage point. They hold that the realm of science (a “new” quantum science they say) offers the wealth of knowledge we are looking for. Some, like Leonard Sweet, have suggested that if we look at the physical world at the sub-atomic level, we will actually find God. At first, it seems like a wonderful idea to think that we can prove to an unbelieving world the existence of God. A good idea, that is, until we realize that we are again talking about another Gospel – for to “discover” that God exists in all of creation at the sub-atomic level suggests a panentheistic view of God. Yet Romans 1 distinguishes the creature from Creator (verse 25). In fact, the panentheistic view contradicts and discredits the whole Genesis account. Paul clarifies that there are two realities – physical and spiritual – and they are not the same (1 Corinthians 15:35-50). From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible actually makes it very clear that God is separate from His creation. My question is, if God is spiritual rather than physical, when the scientists discover God at the sub-atomic level, what god will that actually be?
Needless to say, what is being passed off as cutting-edge spirituality is what Paul warned about when he talked about “vain philosophies” and “science falsely so called.” The fact is, God has given mankind the ability to reason and to make empirical observations, but no amount of human reasoning and scientific experimentation, in and of themselves, will enable man to arrive at God outside of that which is revealed in the Bible.
For the Christian, the Gospel has been and always will be that standardized weight and the pivot from which we measure truth from error. Today, more than ever, the church is plagued by such a vast assortment of spiritualities and false teachings, some of which are so subtle, that even the most discerning are vulnerable to dangerous deception.
The sad truth is that most church going, self-proclaiming Christians today do not understand the times in which we live and would prefer that “negative” “trouble-making” organizations such as Lighthouse Trails would cease to exist. But as long as the Lord allows, and in spite of many adversaries, those of us who defend the faith and contend for His Word are often reminded of our Lord’s words of admonition to work “while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
However, something needs to be said here: Although Lighthouse Trails exists as a source of information, this is not our highest calling. We believe God has called us to work “[f]or the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). For the “perfecting of the saints” to happen, Christians need to learn to think on their own. Too many ministries exist that create a following of dependents rather than discipling men and women of God who are strong in the faith. The Lord is our strength and in Him and His Word we have everything we need to live an overcoming life (2 Peter 1:3). Paul put it succinctly when he said this concerning our Lord:
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (Colossians 2:3-4)
Let us cling to the priceless treasure we have in Christ. None of us will ever have a perfect hold of all Christian doctrine – as Paul says we see as looking through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12), but if we hold fast to our Savior and Lord, and hide His Word in our hearts, we will have all we need to get us through.
How much does the Gospel weigh? More than the weight of all the sins of mankind put together. Christ’s death on the Cross bore that load, and nothing can takes its place.