The reason a big time cable company got sued and lost a good deal of money was because of “punctuation”, a single punctuation. This is how the story went.
The wife of a multi millionaire business man decided to travel to another country on a vacation. At a time when phones and emails were not in use, cable communication was the fastest way to reach people.
While on her vacation, she went shopping, and that included shopping at a diamond store. She saw a diamond accessory that blew her away and the next thing she did was to cable her finding to her husband.
To her excitement, she soon received an affirmative response with the sweet words: “NO PRICE TOO HIGH”. I guess the ladies know how exciting such a message can be. So, the woman joyfully purchased the item and must have thought: “how he loves me so, he truly is the fairest of them all”.
The vacation came to an end and she got back home, lovingly displaying her new diamond accessory. That was were the tension began.
Her husband argued that he had wired to her: “No, price too high”. She said she had received: “No price too high”. The missing comma had altered the message, giving it the opposite of the meaning.
At this point, you know how I came about the first paragraph in this post.
Yahweh told the Israelites that they perished for lack of knowledge.
The Lord Jesus told the Sadducees that they erred because they didn’t know either the scriptures or the power of God. Unfortunately, they were counted among the scholars of the day.
When it comes to the Kingdom of God, what we hear, how we hear, how we understand and how we live by understanding are all strongly essential. The foundation however is “what we hear”. If what we hear is wrong, everything else comes crashing down ultimately.
“No amount of zeal of zeal can save us in the end if the principles are false”- T. Austin-Sparks
It all begins with the gospel we’ve heard, received and obeyed.
A distorted gospel produces a distorted faith in a distorted Jesus who provides a distorted hope.
Paul had to write a number of churches, reminding them of the “true gospel”, “the whole gospel”. They had derailed from following the Lord Jesus because they had been deceived by smooth talkers into believing a counterfeit gospel.
Let us not forget that the gospel is the power of God to bring men to salvation. There was something about the gospel that Paul and the other Apostles preached. The Spirit got hold of a man through the gospel and radical devotion to the Lord Jesus was birthed.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of what goes on today.
As the Lord continues to be gracious to me, I have had to let go of faulty foundations (gospels), counterfeit christs (very subtle ones and highly celebrated by people) and improper understanding of what the Church really is and how to function within her.
The learning process is still on.
Please note these few points.
1. The fact of Jesus’ cruel death is not the strongest point of the gospel, neither is it complete in itself. Jesus died, but He is alive today and actively working. Jesus has long left the cross. Do you only know the Jesus on the cross? (Some believers have become so addicted to the empty cross).
2. The gospel does not call you to do your best to please God; it strongly says that “you could never provide salvation for yourself, neither can you sustain it now or ever”.
The gospel tells you that you were powerless in yourself and you always will be, as long as Christ is on the Throne.
It takes only the Lord Jesus who grants salvation to live out the new creation life in any believer. The key is to submit to Christ.
3. The gospel is not about giving you a great self esteem. It seals the demise/death/destruction of your “self esteem”. (Surprised how this may be?)
Let us stick together, there is high voltage stuff coming in this series. You don’t want to miss it.
[If you live in North America, you may want to keep your fingers crossed in this series.]
You can always ask your questions on the blog: http://www.jesususthewhole org. Use the contact form or click the particular article and then use the comment form.
[I first heard the opening story from a Church History class delivered by Tommy Nelson of Denton Bible Church- this is a credit for the story only].
In Christ alone,
E. Luminous Aghosa.