For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. -- Psalm 84: 11 (NLT)
Man has been trying to recreate God in his own image since the dawn of creation. That is essentially what the unsaved do. They may claim agnosticism or atheism but it comes down to not wanting to give up the throne in their lives to God. So they recreate Him to fit their lifestyles and their sin. The same holds true within the church circles. Jesus has made it clear that not everyone who says Lord is entering the kingdom of heaven. The people He used as examples for not making it had clearly believed they spent their lives working for Him. I say this because it is vitally important that our doctrine is correct and that we are following the true Gospel -- lest we be led down the broad path to destruction.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. -- Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV)
I think sometimes we get things backwards and we think there is safety in numbers. The logic being that so many people couldn't be wrong -- yes they can. One of the latest trends I see is to present a single facet of the Gospel as being the entire Gospel. This trend is marked with a fierce defense of the stance and a dismissive attitude towards differing opinions. The two obvious extremes are what I call the cute and cuddly gospel and the barbed wire gospel. In the cute and cuddly, everything is roses and cherubim. You never talk about sin or repentance, the cross or the blood. It is essentially a self help or motivational speaker carrying a Bible. We can lump the prosperity heretics in this group as well because they use the cute and cuddly to sell God to the highest bidder. The barbed wire gospel is the opposite. Everything is fire and brimstone. Everything is sin and judgment. There is no love in their Christ and the people who sit under this teaching walk in limited power; under condemnation.
As we head deeper into the end times however, the distortions are becoming more difficult to deal with in their sophistication. You see a "love only" message being preached now which focuses solely on grace. The problem with a love only message is again, our conduct becomes secondary to the forgiveness of that conduct. It does give people who are not as deep theologically, the sense that sin is ok because after all, God loves us and will forgive us anyway. Obviously this is being largely accepted by swaths of Christians because it tickles the ears. Who wouldn't rather hear about love and grace over sin and repentance! But the point is that it remains unbalanced. How important is this? Here is how Paul described it to the Ephesian elders when he said goodbye:
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. -- Acts 20: 26-27 (NKJV)
The whole counsel of God is what kept Paul innocent of their blood! Seek a balanced Gospel beloved. The key verse today is a microcosm of balance. In it there are fantastic promises of God including his aforementioned grace. But also in this verse is the condition that needs to be met. We don't like to talk that much about conditions but God talks about them throughout His Word.