Faith is a meal, you need to eat the whole thing
In some ways the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is like a meal that you order at a fast-food restaurant. Have you ever gone through a drive-thru, ordered a meal, opened up your bag and looked inside to discover that they only gave you the fries? No burger. You look at your watch and think, “Do I have time to go back in there and get it?” Perhaps you didn’t and so you settled for a bad deal and a growling stomach.
When it comes to the Gospel we need to make sure that we are eating (and serving) the full meal deal. You need all your nutrition, not just some of it. Of course, fast-food meals aren’t very nutritious, but you get the point.
When people think about the Gospel they normally think of the cross. You see crosses on churches all over the place, and that’s definitely appropriate. The cross is a symbol of the forgiveness of our sins through the death of Jesus Christ.
The cross, however, is only the first part of a bigger package.
The point of the cross and of the forgiveness of our sins, in the first place, is that we would receive a new heart.
This is a metaphor for becoming a new spiritual person, especially with respect to our attitude towards God and what he wants of us.
Jesus said it this way: “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The second, very related, purpose of the cross is that we also would be restored to a good relationship with our Creator. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins so that the barriers of our sin and sin-nature are removed. When we confess our wrongs and put our faith in Jesus Christ we are then welcomed into God’s family as his children.
Aren’t you kind of getting cheaped out if your Gospel only includes the cross, but doesn’t include a new heart and living relationship with God? Or, vice versa, if your Gospel is about some vague notion of God’s love, but doesn’t deal with your actual sins and tendencies?
Preachers need to preach the full-meal deal. You need to eat the full-meal deal.
It’s really a wonderfully tasty meal, and I suspect that more people would enjoy it if only they would be willing to eat it.