Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 2 Cointhians 11:1-4
Have you ever played a game of chess? I do sometimes play it – with my computer. The most dangerous piece on that chessboard is called the queen. The queen strikes terror in any opponent’s heart. The minute I see my adversary’s queen begin to take position I always know I am in trouble. The real terror, of course, is that the queen always moves with purpose. She knows exactly where she is headed, and she is always headed for a kill.
Whenever I see the other player’s queen begin to move, I know I have made a wrong move somewhere, and that I have given the queen the chance to move in for the kill.
As a born-again Christian, I equate the queen with sin in a Christian’s life. The minute we get into another gospel, other than the right gospel, we have made ‘a wrong move’, and sin moves in and it kills us. There are many Christians today who, unawares, are dead although they still profess Christianity.
In the above scripture the Apostle Paul was warning the church of Corinth against accepting ‘another’ gospel other than that which he had preached to them – the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ. The gospel that Paul had preached to these people was a gospel designed and given to him by God Himself to accomplish the task of presenting a ‘chaste virgin’ to Christ. ‘Chaste’ means ‘clean’, ‘untainted’. In gospel-speak that means holy, righteous, pure, completely sinless.
Sin dwells in a man’s heart, of course, and the gospel that Paul preached dealt with exactly that – Christians’ hearts.
In many scriptures Paul calls the gospel a ‘mystery’. It is the mystery of Christ, revealed to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and prophets.
Today, just as in Paul’s day, may false apostles and prophets have risen up to proclaim a gospel of their own. The main difference between their gospel and the gospel that Paul preached is that (just like in Paul’s time) this other gospel is a worldly gospel. It is not a gospel of the heart, meaning it does not deal with the heart. When the gospel deals with the heart the flesh dies. The flesh and all that clings to it, dies away.
On the contrary, this ‘strange’ gospel not only does not deal with the heart, but it feeds the flesh. (I once attended a service where a famous preacher told us to ‘claim that Mercedes Benz’!). God’s people are taught how to prosper materially, how to have their bodies healed, how to live healthy lives – all things which have to do with this “body of death”, that is, a body which will ultimately die.
In the final analysis, these kinds of gospels appease the flesh; and sin moves in for the kill. Sin closes in, because sin fears nothing except the cross of Jesus Christ. It was through the death of the cross alone that Christ was able to triumph over the powers and principalities of darkness, including the total defeat of sin. Where the cross of Christ is working in a man’s life, sin cannot show its ugly head.
We stand and we fall before God strictly in relation to the condition of our hearts. We need to cry to God so that we might find ourselves walking that narrow road where we are keeping a pure heart and walking holy lives before God. The Bible is clear that this can only be accomplished through the working of the cross in our hearts.
That is why the Apostle Paul would not preach any other gospel other than the gospel of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” 1 Cor. 2:2. In other words, he determined to preach no other gospel other than the gospel of the cross of Christ. In many of his writings Paul calls this gospel a ‘mystery’.
Not that Paul had a choice. He reckoned himself a bond slave of Jesus Christ, which meant he could only preach that which God commanded him to preach.
The gospel he preached – the revelation of the cross – was the only gospel that could deliver man from the power of sin.
That is the gospel that will show you how rotten your heart is and that you need to have it cleaned up. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”. Seeking the Kingdom of God means being at peace with God in our hearts. And we cannot be at peace with God while our hearts are carrying every sort of filth.
The material and physical life (of which Christians are so concerned today) follows after. That is why Jesus used the word “seek first”.
Christians should not be walking about with dark hearts. Jesus died on the cross for the very purpose, and He has put apostles and prophets in the church to reveal His cross and the power therein to totally banish sin in Christians’ lives. When we are walking in that revelation we will walk in victory over sin and the world, and all the deceptiveness that goes with it.