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Dynamite Gospel and Firecracker Lives

Someone noted too many Christians preach a dynamite gospel while living firecracker lives. That Christians have a dynamite gospel to preach is beyond dispute. It's the same gospel the apostle Paul was eager and unashamed to preach as he stated in Romans 1:15-17: "So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.' " If you are a Bible student you know that the Greek word Paul uses for power in this familiar and famous passage of Scripture is dunamis [pronounced doo'-nam-is] which, according to Strong's Concordance, means "force, power, strength, ability." Dunamis is the word from which we derive the English words "dynamic" and "dynamite." Sin was in in Roman society (see 1:18-32), and God was being pushed out (1:28). Read this passage carefully and you'll see a sin saturated society. Verse 29 gives a terse if terrible summary when it says they were "filled with all unrighteousness" (NIV "filled with every kind of wickedness"). The Greek word translated "filled' in this verse means "to make replete, to cram" and is closely related to a word that means "to cover over." Roman/Greek society in Paul's day was pro-sin. Crammed full and running over with sin.

What advice would you give to a church of Christ that found itself smack dab in the middle of a culture soaked in sin? Paul does not call for more taxation, more education, more legislation, more reformation, or more incarceration. He doesn't say a word about who to elect to the Roman Senate or about which party the Emperor is from. Not a syllable about Rome's economy, or what Caesar is doing to close off the borders to illegal immigrants and provide universal health care. Not that some of these things aren't important, but Paul gets into none of that. He begins by reminding the church that they have a dynamite gospel that needs to be preached. A gospel that can save people's souls and change their lives — even in a place as sin-saturated as Rome. Later in the book he warns against living firecracker lives by telling them, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (12:2). The situation for the church today has not changed. We preach a dynamite gospel. The question is what kind of lives are we living? Are we living dynamite lives to the glory of a living God and a risen-from-the-dead Savior, or are we living firecracker lives that reflect too much of the world's way of talking and thinking and priorities and philosophies? A cartoon shows a preacher leaning over his pulpit, hand on hip, saying to his listening congregation, "This is the 4th sermon I've preached on the transforming power of the gospel. Why do you look like the same old bunch?" We preach a dynamite gospel. Are you living a firecracker life?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ