Friday, August 24, 2007

The Cosmic Squish

The Cosmic Squish is the term I use when people want to focus on the Love of God only, and no other aspects of who God is. One of the most common ways we see this is in people's testimonies.

So often, when hearing someone trying lead someone else to Christ, we give our testimonies. This often consists of how our lives were awful before we found Christ, but then we got saved and everything was all better. We essentially tell them that life is peachy now that we have Christ on our side. We usually leave out the fact that we are ridiculed on a daily basis for sharing our faith.

I was reminded of "The Cosmic Squish," yesterday as I listened to a sermon that included the preacher reading cards with testimonies from members of the congregation. Not a single one of them said anything about falling short of the glory of God. About just how much we don't deserve salvation. Nothing about repentance or Lordship. Nothing about being broken in the presence of God

I would never suggest that any of these people are not actually saved, just because their testimony is a little squishy. That's frankly between them and God. I've always liked a story that Ray Comfort tells in his sermon, "Hell's Best Kept Secret."

"Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve the flight. After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight. So, he decides to give the thing a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him, because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him and he can stand it no longer, he slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he’s told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude towards those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now listen to what the modern gospel says. It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news”. His latter end becomes worse than the first: another inoculated and bitter backslider."

So let's tell the full truth when we give our testimonies. Salvation is not about improving our lives. It's about glorifying God. It's about improving our afterlives. God has never promised us that once we give our lives to him, everything would be better. Just look at the early church. They were beaten, arrested and martyred for the sake of the gospel. Enough of the "God wants to give you a big hug." gospel. Let's start preaching that God's want to save you from the wrath you deserve.