Perhaps in some ways, we have allowed our spiritual teeth to be pulled. As a result, we can succumb to only gumming soft and easily digested portions of a greater truth, some of which is uncomfortable to hear in a culture that demands an unhealthy inclusiveness, even with our theology.
Jesus and His disciples issued warnings in their conversations. Paul and other New Testament writers did likewise. Warnings require the teeth of truth to make their delivery. In some circles of faith, the Gospel sounds like it has been reduced to a version of John Lennon’s song, Imagine.
“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today.”
Warnings have always been part of the redemptive message. We are warned of things that have immediate and eternal consequences. These consequences have motived 2,000 years of life-sacrificing missionary service. Without warnings, our message is incomplete – a toothless representation. No one lays down their life for an option or personal opinion that has no consequence.
Jesus laid down His life to save us from something, not just make us better people. The love of God makes us willing to do anything, including issuing a loving warning to those heading toward an eternal cliff of no return. Love, love with teeth, warns. It doesn’t just imagine.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins