I recently watched an edition of the Big Build on The BBC where a house in Whiteley was transformed for a family in need of help. Many of us will have seen similar programs and the last 10 minutes or so are wonderful as the family are introduced to their new home. Looks of astonishment & amazement, smiles, tears and an overflow of emotions are a common response.
Now imagine that your house has had a similar, top to bottom, incredible makeover. The first room that you see is the entrance hall and you are amazed. It is incredible, awesome, astonishing and you are lost for words at the love and care that has been lavished on you. You are so taken with the entrance hall that you don’t even think of exploring to see if there is more. The entrance hall is so eye wateringly beautiful that you are driven to tears of joy and thanks. You end up making your home in the entrance hall. It is spacious and comfortable and seems to offer all that you need.
That is how I’ve come to see the relationship between the traditional view of the Gospel and the biblical evidence. The traditional view is like the entrance hall. It is amazing, awesome and incredible. It leads to tears of sorrow, thanks and joy. It is a comfortable place to live, knowing that we are forgiven and that our eternal destiny is secured.
BUT forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation is the entrance hall. It is the room through which we enter the house, but it’s only part of the house. The other rooms in the house are equally awesome and amazing. They too will leave us with looks of astonishment and deep thankfulness that we are loved by God. The difficulty and sadness is that many of us don’t even know the other rooms exist, no one has told us and we’ve grown so comfortable and happy with the entrance hall that we’ve never explored.
The gospel of sin management and an eternal destiny in heaven is part of the gospel we read about in the Bible but it’s the entrance hall and not the full house. We can’t get into the other rooms unless we go through the entrance hall, there is no other way in and no back door, but we’re missing so much if we stop there.
Sadly there are other consequences of living in the entrance hall all our lives. It leads to many of us being Christians without being disciples. It also removes much of the motivation for mission and evangelism that saturated the lives of the Christians we read about in the Bible.