In 2002 a pharmacist who diluted chemotherapy drugs for thousands of cancer patients was sentenced to the maximum 30 years in prison. A cancer patient won a $2.2 billion court settlement against the same pharmacist, who had diluted her chemotherapy drugs with water1. What could be more deadly than diluted cancer medication? It would be like giving placebos to a cardiac patient or diluted insulin to a diabetic.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word dilute as:
…to make thinner, to lessen strength, to adulterate, to reduce value or efficiency, to make fainter, or to water down.
There are many today who suggests that the church would be better off if we watered down the message of the Gospel, saying things like:
- We are too hard on people.
- Don’t be so dogmatic regarding Christ’s teaching.
- We are going to run people off.”
The gospel is God’s remedy for our sin. If we water it down, it will not save, leading to eternal results that are tragic. The scriptures provide clear instruction about how we are to be saved, how we ought to live as Christians and how we should give a reasoned defense to the world.
What then is our message and how do we present it to a hostile world?
It is first and foremost the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. This includes his teachings about justification for sin, sanctification and how to live the sanctified life
The Bible instructs us how to respond to God’s outpouring of grace and love.
- He asks that we believe in Jesus, trusting Him alone to be our Savior and guide back to God (John 11:25- 26).
- He calls for us to repent of our rebellion and unbelief (Mark 1:15).
- Instead of boasting in ourselves and what we can do, we are to confess that Jesus is Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-13).
- Finally, God confers the promises of the gospel to us by uniting us with Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:26-27).
These responses do not earn our salvation, but are instead the means by which God freely imparts to us the salvation made possible through His Son, Jesus. The gospel gives us confidence before God because our standing before Him rests upon Jesus’ perfect life and not our faltering and imperfect efforts. This does not mean that Christians ought not strive to live a life devoted to God’s will. When we come to see how much God loves us, we will want to do what He asks, knowing that He always asks for that which is the best and therefore the best thing for us. We do so in order to show our love for Him (1John 3:1-3).
Those who seek to make Christ and His Church more attractive to unbelievers, often appeal to what already seems right to those lost in sin. This is the opposite of calling people to renounce sin and to submit to God’s will. The Christ whom we find in the gospels and explained in the scriptures is the historical Jesus. We cannot change what he did nor explain away what he said. We can make no improvement nor should we try. We might appear to be ‘fools for Christ’, but then so were his apostles.
Because it is God’s word, the scriptures establish not only that there is a right and a wrong, but go on to provide the content. Our job is to teach what the Bible teaches and to do it without editorial change. The gospel message is filled with hope and the promise of spiritual transformation which the world needs to hear and embrace. We must speak the truth in love in a way that honours God and respects others. But the truth of God’s word is His truth and we must not compromise or dilute it.
May we cherish and defend our hope in Christ and share it out of love for others. May we never deny our faith but faithfully lift up Christ Jesus! May we as embassador of Christ call on the world to be reconciled to God, praying that as we do, He will draw men to Himself!
All of which raises the question: how well am I representing Christ in my corner of His world?