Things That Make Us Say Bad Words

In my last post, we talked about the word “gospel” and how it means “good news”… and also how some people, against all reason, are able to make it seem like really bad news by adding a bunch of stipulations on it. Here at Simul Blog, stipulations get us fired up because the gospel is something that we love and we want to share with our friends, especially those who have been beat up by the world like we have and are too broken and damaged to do anything but beg. Sometimes we even say bad words because it pisses us off so much…


…Sorry. So, that got me thinking about other words we use to describe this oft misrepresented word gospel. In Matthew 15:12, the disciples call it scandalous. In Romans 9:33, Paul calls it a stumbling block. In Galatians 5:11 he calls it offensive. Peter echoes these same words in 1 Peter 2:8. Paul goes a step further in 1 Corinthians 1:18-19; 23-25 and says not only is it offensive, it seems like complete and utter nonsense… unless you have been rescued by it…

Image  …and then it becomes none of those things. It. is. perfect. It is glorious, beautiful, wise, liberating, wonderful, amazing, extraordinary, enthralling, captivating… and now I’m just reading the covers of my wife’s Amish romance novels, but you get the point.


But why would the authors of the Bible say it like that? I mean, the gospel is about being a good person, right? About following rules, becoming holier, about making Jesus love you because of what an upstanding and moral person you are? I hate to say this, I honestly hate it, but what most people think Christianity is is actually Buddhism. A lot of them might be happier over there because the rules are clearer. Buddhists seem like a content lot.


Most theologians would balk at my straw man argument here and say, “show me all of these so called ‘Pharisees.'” I would say, “look in the mirror… walk through any church on a Sunday morning.” It was me for most of my life. I mean, there probably are not even many laypeople who would admit they believe those things, but it’s certainly the impression I get from most Christians and pastors I know. The saddest thing about all of it though, the reason we write these silly blogs, talk the way we do, preach the way we do, get mad and curse the way we do, is because every single one of those people is broken. They may be more or less aware of the extent of it, but the brokenness leaks out of them. It shows in their faces when their smile facade cracks for an imperceptible mircro-expression. It shows in their posture when they think no one is looking. It shows in their clipped words when you can tell they’re holding something back…

ImageThus we loudly, boldly, constantly, persistently, annoyingly, and mostly desperately announce the Good News. The scandalous, offensive, stumbling block news: It is finished. It’s done. Jesus came to set the captives free, to take our heavy yoke, to give the weary and heavy laden rest. There’s nothing else you can do because it’s already been done for you. It’s okay, you can take your mask off. You can show us your scars. The Church should not be some elite social club where you will be judged for hairs out of place, P’s and Q’s left unminded, or toddlers that sometimes repeat your filthy language. It is a triage ward, for people who have somehow miraculously stumbled out of the morgue. It’s a place where those who cannot go on pretending anymore are put to death and given a new life; one that has already been lived perfectly without the mistakes and shame that you carry. It’s a celebration, not of our failure, but of the incredible work of grace in people’s stories despite their failure.


This new life changes us and sometimes it might even make us do things completely out of character for us, things that will make others marvel at our amazing transformation. That can mess with us though and cause us to focus on the “improvement” more than the root cause. We change because of Christ’s finished work and the Holy Spirit continual work in our lives, not because we are all that good at following the rules on our own. The ghost of that old dead person still haunts us and mostly the Christian life is about reminding him that he’s dead so that we can get back to living. Sometimes those conversations take weeks or months, sometimes he wins and gets to walk around in a Weekend at Bernie’s kind of way. Buddhist theology makes us feel like we’re getting past all of that, but true Christian theology is what actually moves us beyond. Remembering that it’s done, that Christ died for the all the sins you have committed, for all the sins that you are currently committing, and for all the sins that you will definitely commit in the future.

Image It sets you free. Simul justus et peccator my friends. Look to Christ always. Rejoice in Him. Rest in Him. Give it a shot, who knows what might happen? I promise you that you won’t be sorry.



Add yours →

  1. Nice post. I also nearly say bad words when I run into stipulations added onto the gospels. Although I think it is pretty easy to do it myself.

  2. Awesome post- after being a christian for years, about a year ago I found myself saying in regards to the Gospel “wait a minute here, it sounds to good to be true. . . what’s the catch” – and the more I looked, the more I noticed I couldn’t find one. Not one catch. Anywhere. That’s when I think I really started to get the Gospel. Peace guys, keep writing. Sola Gratia

  3. Good to see a talent at work. I can’t match that.

  4. Hahahaha. I’m not too bright today. Great post!

  5. Tip top stuff. I’ll expect more now.

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