Separation: The Ultimate Lie
According to theologian C. Baxter Kruger, the ultimate lie is separation — that is, separation from God. And yet, this is the prevailing teaching in many Christian circles today — maybe, without us realizing it. This is evident in several evangelistic methods used by some Christians today. In some of the illustrations that are used for gospel presentation, a huge gap or “great divide” is normally shown to illustrate just how man is hopelessly separated from God. This is a prevailing view—that man is separated from God right now.
When the gospel is presented in this way, our natural response is to ask: “How do we get back to God?” “How do we get God back to us?” “What do we do?” Salvation then becomes dependent on what man should do to cross the gap. Repent, believe, do something, charms, “do this,” “don’t do that,” “touch not,” “taste not,” food restrictions, fasting, keeping the Sabbaths, rules, incantations, self-flagellation, prayers, etc.—all done in order to get saved. This leads to a works-oriented frame of thinking and lifestyle trying to “develop holy, righteous and perfect character” all throughout life in order to get saved!
Additionally, in this prevailing theology, Jesus merely becomes a “solution to the problem” of sin — a “tool,” a “means to an end” or the “bridge” in order to cross “the great divide.” Jesus is merely “Plan B” because Adam failed (“Plan A”). Salvation is conditional — based on repentance and faith. Sin, death, hell and Satan become the focus and attention of their discussions and in their gospel preaching and less on Jesus Christ himself! This is real bad news!
“It is Finished”
But we know that we have already been saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). By God’s amazing grace, he has already forgiven us even before we said, “I’m sorry” (Luke 15:20-24). We know that Christ has already done everything that’s needed for all mankind to be saved. He did it already without asking for our consent. Salvation in Christ is already a reality. It’s not a potential gospel which will happen if we “repent” and “believe.” It is already true! Through Christ, We are now reconciled with God! Will you repent (change your mind) and believe this truth? That is the real question that God wants us to respond to—in light of our true reality in him.
Denial of the Incarnation
“The view that man is separated from God is a flat out denial of the incarnation which is staring us in the face” says theologian Dr. C. Baxter Kruger. Through the incarnation, the God who saves (Jesus), became one of us (Immanuel)! That is a dynamite message! Through Jesus Christ’s incarnation, man is now united with God for all eternity! Our humanity is united to Christ’s humanity making us one with him. Divinity joined humanity in the person (hypostasis) of Jesus Christ! Theologians call this as the hypostatic union. Man has been predestined to be adopted as his sons from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:5). Jesus is “Plan A” and there is no other plan from the very beginning. Jesus is not “Plan B” because God’s plan got messed up by Adam’s sin—“the fall of man.” But in most Christian preaching nowadays, how often do we hear about the incarnation and the atonement? Not much really—except maybe during Christmas and Easter.
Plea for Theological Evangelism
Although Christians acknowledge that the incarnation and the atonement are mighty important doctrines of the Christian church, there’s not much talk about it in the churches throughout the year. Rather, the focus is on sin, death, hell, Satan, separation and a focus on what to do to get saved!
The late great theologian Thomas F. Torrance’s plea is this: that we Christians should return to a Christ-centered teaching (didache) and preaching (kerygma),—that is, “to theological evangelism, grounded upon the incarnation and the atonement.” Our preaching and teaching should be grounded on the incarnation and the atonement at every opportunity!
United not Separated
The God who saves (Jesus) is God with us (Immanuel)! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He did not wait for us to become clean, holy and righteous. He has already united himself with us, despite our sins! We have already been reconciled with Christ (Romans 5:10). It’s union not separation.
We are now in union with Christ. We are not separated from him. This is our current status and true reality in Jesus Christ. It’s been God’s plan all along. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit would like to have a relationship with us. They want to include us into their inner circle of life and love for all eternity. It’s time we change our view or “change our mind” (that’s the meaning of the Greek word, metanioa which is translated as “repent”) and believe who we really are in Jesus Christ. It’s union not separation!
In view of the fact that God loved us first, that God already saved us and included us into his life and love, in light of who God is and who we are in him, therefore, let us repent and believe! Let our gospel presentation start with union and not separation.