I've written about this before but I figured it was time to revisit and improve upon the idea.
First Things First
So what's this 'perfect lie' that I write so dramatically about? It is this: That we can please God through our own efforts. Do you want to know the heart of the gospel? Here it is:
Unless you repent, you too will all perish.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus refers to a lost sheep (Luke 15:3-6), the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) and the well known parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). What do all these stories have in common? That which is of great value has been lost only to be found again.
Unless A Man Repents He Will Surely Die
For some strange and inexplicable reason this sentence has been vexing me recently. It is glaringly obvious that 'I'm a good person' is the reigning pop-culture theology of the day. I often hear such lame excuses as these:
- No need to repent. I'm a good person!
- No need for a Messiah (on a cross). I'm a good person!
- No need to reconcile my faith with the Bible. I'm a good person!
- No need for a (Holy) Spirit-led life. I'm a good person!
- No need to radically change my lifestyle. I'm a good person!
- No need to change my worldly attitudes. I'm a good person!
- No need for holiness in word, thought or deed. I'm a good person!
As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
This is not a popular message. Never has been and never will be. All those who dare preach it will face all manner of persecution and (sometimes violent) opposition. This corrupt world will hate all those who faithfully remind us of our fallen nature. Yet it must be taught if we are to count ourselves as Christ's disciples.
The Faith of the Foolish
Why does this lie work so effortlessly? For one very simple reason: It appeals to our pride and our overwhelming sense of self-importance. Hell will be filled with good people who've substituted their own piety and religious observance ahead of the sufferings of Christ. Only through Him can we approach the Father:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.