Nuggets from An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith by Dave Hunt - Overemphasis upon Physical Suffering |

Dave Hunt

Nuggets from an Urgent Call to a Serious Faith by Dave Hunt - Overemphasis upon Physical Suffering

Here we encounter another serious problem: representations of the cross focus the emphasis upon the physical suffering of Christ as though that paid for our sins. On the contrary, that was what man did to Him and could only add to our condemnation. Our redemption came about through: His bruising by Jehovah and “his soul [being made] an offering for sin” (Isaiah:53:10); God laying “on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6); and His bearing “our sins in his own body on the tree: (1 Peter:2:24).

The death of Christ is irrefutable evidence that God in righteousness must punish sin. The penalty must be paid, or there can be no forgiveness. That God’s Son had to endure the cross even after crying to His Father in agonizing contemplation of bearing our sins, (“If it be possible, let this cup pass from me” [Matthew:26:39]), is proof that there was no other way mankind could be redeemed. When Christ, the sinless, perfect Man and beloved of His Father, took our place, God’s judgment fell upon Him in all its fury. What then must be the judgment of those who reject Christ and refuse the pardon offered in Him? We must warn them.

At the same time and in the same breath that we sound the alarm of coming judgment, we must also proclaim the good news that redemption has been provided and God’s forgiveness is offered for the vilest of sinners. Nothing more evil could be conceived than crucifying God, yet it was from the cross that Christ in infinite love and mercy prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke:23:34). So the cross proves, too, that there is forgiveness for the worst of sins and sinners.

Tragically, however, the vast majority of mankind reject Christ. And here we face another danger—that in our sincere desire to see souls saved we adjust the message of the cross to avoid offending the world. Paul warned that care had to be taken not to preach the cross “with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Corinthians 1: 17). But surely the gospel can be explained in a new way that is more appealing to the ungodly than those old-time preachers presented it. Perhaps today’s techniques for packaging and selling could be used to clothe the cross in music or a beat or entertaining presentation such as the world uses that would give the gospel a new relevancy or at least familiarity. Surely, psychology, too, can be drawn upon to provide a more positive approach.  Let us not confront sinners with their sin and the gloom and doom of coming judgment, but explain that their behavior isn’t really their fault so much as it is the result of abuse they have suffered. Are we not all victims? And didn’t Christ come to rescue our self-esteem and self-confidence? Blend the cross with psychology and the world will beat a path to our churches, filling them with new members. Such is today’s new evangelicalism.