assumed gospel

Posted: April 2, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

Just started reading this book by Matt Chandler. Here’s a bit from the introduction.



For some reason—namely, our depravity—we have a tendency
to think that the cross saves us from past sin, but after we are saved, we have to take over and clean ourselves up. This sort of thinking is devastating to the soul. We call this the “assumed gospel,” and it flourishes when well-meaning teachers, leaders, and preachers set out to see lives first and foremost conformed to a pattern of behavior (religion) and not transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power (gospel).

The apostle Paul saw this bad teaching and practice happen often, and he went on the offensive against it:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called
you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not
that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and
want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel
from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we
preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so
now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to
the one you received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6–9)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself
for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness
were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.O foolish
Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that
Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you
only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (Gal. 2:20–3:5)

The idolatry that exists in man’s heart always wants to lead
him away from his Savior and back to self-reliance no matter how
pitiful that self-reliance is or how many times it has betrayed him.
Religion is usually the tool the self-righteous man uses to exalt himself. Again, this isn’t new; the apostle Paul lays out in Philippians
3:4–9 his religious pedigree and practice as an example of what a
man can accomplish with discipline and hard work. In that passage Paul states that all his religious effort, exhaustive checklist of all his accomplishments included, amounts to nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of Christ. He goes a step further and even calls it “rubbish” or “dung.”
Think about that: all your church attendance, all your religious
activities, your Sunday school attendance medals, your journals,
having a “quiet time,” reading the Scriptures—it’s all in vain if you
don’t have Christ. When you read Paul’s texts together, you get a feel for his attack on the Christian, moralistic, therapeutic deism of his day. We are saved, sanctified, and sustained by what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the power of his resurrection. If you add to or subtract from the cross, even if it is to factor in biblically mandated religious practices like prayer and evangelism, you rob God of his glory and Christ of his sufficiency. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for us, not because of all the great stuff we’ve done but because Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: covered. My future failures: paid in full all by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Matt Chandler, Jared Wilson, “The Explicit Gospel“, Intro pg 13-14

  1. kim/nannykim says:

    hmmm, So true–transformed by the Spirit’s power–but how does this happen.?? we don’t rob God of his glory when we are acting by God’s grace in the power of the Spirit. Paul tells them to DO something–5.1 For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” We are no longer under the system of the Jewish law–he has set us free in Christ, but not free to sin. He exhorts us to STAND FIRM–he exhorts us to “do not submit”. We have to do this (by grace–but we participate because we aren’t robots–we now have been given a freedom to live in a way to please him). We are new creations with Spiritual life that enables us to walk in a way that pleases him.

    Gal 5.16 I say then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.

    What Matt says is so true–all is vain–all we do is vain if we don’t have Christ. But if we do have Christ, he places us into the Church and it is through the church, the word, the sacraments , the fellowship that God uses as a means of grace. We receive grace upon grace as we are walking in the Spirit and God’s Spirit will use the means of grace, otherwise we don’t need to go hear you guys preach the word. lol I sometimes think this age we are in now tends to neglect the means of grace.We sometimes feel it is just us and the Spirit. We fail to realize that the Spirit uses means–he uses the preaching of the word, the Sunday Schools, the encouragement from each other—I guess there is a DANGER from both parts. The danger to think we can do it on our own with the Holy Spirit and no church and the danger to think we are doing it without him. …but of the two I think the first is much more prevalent.!!

    PS. You are making me read too much!! Slow down! 😉

  2. doulos tou Theou says:

    Thanks for the response

    Sorry for that 🙂


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