Crumbling America

Daily, the chasm widens. The fissure deepens.

Each week presents a new crack, a fresh crevice, an added division.

The moral revolution sweeps across our nation dividing, but not in the way you may think. Christians stand caught in the crossfire between an obvious and hostile enemy and one who is pragmatically indistinguishable.

The end is a nation divided, an America crumbling.

Godless Left

This is almost too obvious to point out, almost junior varsity in nature.

I don’t know how any professing believer in the risen Lord Jesus could support the leftist platform.

Safe. Rare. Legal. This used to be the leftist position concerning abortion. We recognize it is a serious issue and just want to preserve the right of a woman in the rare instance she truly needs one.

Now, it’s abortion on demand. Shout your abortion. No apologies. Whenever, wherever and the most honest pro-abortion advocates acknowledge that it’s a baby, a child, just that the woman’s rights supersede any right to life the child may have. Recently, state level lawmakers, starting in New York, have passed legislation authorizing abortion up to birth! They bask in their own audacity.

The governor of Virginia even discussed post-birth abortion on the radio!

Wickedness.

Sexual perversion pervades. They’ve tossed biblical sexual norms and morals, mere relics of a bygone patriarchy.

They’ve destroyed male and female, demolishing the very foundation of God’s created order, denying basic science and reason in the name of inclusivity and tolerance. The militant LGBT+ mob—and they’ve since added an ‘I’ and an ‘A’ which I refuse to learn since I just cannot keep up—demands, not just acquiescence, but celebration.

One cannot even publicly state that adults should not empower 3-year-olds into making decisions about their orientation or gender without being chastised into submission. Leaders, Hollywood, other elites champion the corruption of the sexual ethic ushering in all manner of associated licentiousness.

They champion perverted men, dressing up as women, and frolicking on the floor of our local libraries with children, teaching them to twerk, and all about acceptance, and love, and diversity.

Immoral.

They aggressively dominate the education system, co-opting our actual language. Cisgender. Sex assigned at birth. Cis-heteropatriarchy. Just a few Orwellian terms among many taught as doctrine to school children. Indoctrination begins in Kindergarten and is completed in the university.

Evil.

Identity politics. The destruction and devaluation of the nuclear family. Socialism. The refusal to acknowledge competing ideas. Animosity and violence in the name of all of these.

Godless.

But you know this, even if you are of this.

Godless Right

Until 2005, this was me.

I loved guns, god (ostensibly), and country.

I believed in the values of hard-work and personal responsibility. I favored a strong military and limited government. I cherished capitalism and the idea that anyone can succeed if they work hard enough. I loved the 2nd Amendment though interestingly, I maintained distinct pro-choice views as a function of my own sexual licentiousness. Convenience, you see.

And I saw these liberal loons, and would’ve seen the ones of today, with the scorn and derision that they deserve. We didn’t have the term ‘snowflake’ then and they didn’t seem as prevalent but…

…I hated them and would hate them today. I was as godless as they.

‘Murica.

The American right, today, does not speak for me as a follower of Jesus Christ.

The hatred, the vitriol, the disdain for our fellow man, for those made in the Image of God, betrays Scripture and the heart of God.

The believer is to be known by his love for his brothers. (John 13:35) The Christ-follower is to yield rights to himself and to turn the other cheek, to love his enemies, to bless his enemies. (Matthew 5:39, 44) The disciple of Christ knows our enemy is not the flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) Though men rage against him, revile him, hate him, persecute him, he does not respond in kind. The Christian is to live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:2)

The mind of Christ cuts across the grain of modern conservatism.

The outer fruit is there and the outer fruit is good! I applaud abortion-limiting legislation in Alabama and Georgia and pray for its nationwide proliferation. I am comforted by community pushback against drag queen story time, recent judicial victories of Christian bakers over those who would sue them, the confirmation of conservative Supreme Court justices. But it’s just that, external.

Externally, most conservatives would advocate Christ-like policy, godly ideas…but they don’t know Christ! Their vivid hatred of the openly godless gives it away. I share no more fellowship with them than with any on the left.

They may own two assault rifles, vote Republican in every election, picket Planned Parenthood, and keep the KJV at their bedside, but if they don’t know Christ, none of it matters. Internally, spiritually, they are indistinguishable from their god-hating adversaries. They are the same.

The dwindling American church and its increasing irrelevance testifies to our corporate and collective godlessness.

Caught in the Crossfire

The 2016 election epitomized the Christian dilemma.

I couldn’t vote for Hillary. That much was obvious…but Trump, sheesh. Is this really the only other option, a moral degenerate who advocates some conservative ideas that I happen to agree with? The President’s continual and open flaunting and disregard for his fellow man, including his opponents, testifies to his spirituality.

I am conservative in my view for one reason, and one reason alone. I know the risen Lord Jesus.
And my hope is not in America. My hope is not in the Constitution or the Congress or the President. My hope is not found in rights and protest, guns and flags, judges or laws.

I have a hope, an anchor for my soul, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father as He dispatched the Son to bear His wrath against the sin of men, on behalf of all those who would believe. His Kingdom is an unshakeable kingdom, shattering borders and boundaries, spanning countries and continents, enduring from epochs to eternity. That’s my King and that’s my Kingdom.

I’ll leave the godless on the left and the godless on the right to squabble over the crumbs of a crumbling nation. I love America, but she will one day be but a footnote in the salvation history of man. And I’m okay with that.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Tragedy of Transgender

Let’s shift perspective a bit.

“Hey! Check my nuts!” These were the first coherent words Marine 1st Lt. James Byler could muster after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while patrolling in Afghanistan. His body torn to shreds, his arms ripped open, two bloody stumps above the knees, his primary concern was elsewhere.

“It’s the male instinct, the first thing you care about.” Byler’s genitals were severely damaged, but intact.

Previously, most soldiers with serious injuries to the genitals died on the battlefield. With increased MEDEVAC proficiency, thousands of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan survived catastrophic injuries, including those with Genitourinary (GU) injuries. These injuries include instances of complete genital amputation.

GU injuries generate tremendous psychological impacts, driving many to contemplate or attempt suicide. For a man, losing his ‘junk’ is akin to losing his manhood, the very essence of his being.

What if the enemy could convince a man to save him the trouble and cut off his own junk, to in essence, emasculate himself.

This is the tragedy of transition, of transgender.

The Struggle

I wonder what Bruce Jenner thinks when he looks in the mirror.

The current and perhaps decisive front for the moral revolution is the sexual front. Satan plays chess as the LGBTQ+ mafia—the ‘+’ symbol ought to raise some eyebrows—forces their way into every facet of society. Fundamentally, they’ve taken the very essence of God’s design, male and female and God’s blueprint for sexuality between them, and smeared it into a “spectrum”.

They’ve taken the concrete and made it abstract. They’ve taken that which was very good and perverted it. They’ve taken that which is easily observed and defined and subjected it to the eye of the beholder.

They target kids.

Grown men dress up as women and frolic with children on the floor of the public library, taxpayer funded of course. The public school system increasingly promotes this wickedness in the name of sex education. Hollywood is in their hip pocket as is the democratic party. The church is in their crosshairs.

And they demonize any who stand opposed or even try to remain neutral. The only acceptable response is to champion, to laud, to come on board. It’s to the point where a man, actor Mario Lopez in this case, cannot even publicly state that three-year-olds should not be making transgender decisions. Of course, he tucked his tail and meekly apologized a day later.

The rebellion is complete. All that’s left to do is wait upon the fall-out.

Chess, remember.

Make no mistake, Christians ought to stand firm in resisting this colossal evil by any legitimate means. But, what about those individuals caught up? I wonder about Bruce Jenner…and those like him.

Just because the Allies showed no quarter to the Nazi’s doesn’t mean they had no compassion for the individual German soldier.

Illness from Perversion

I’ll make a psychological assessment.

My years in the military ought to qualify me, don’t you think?

Men who dress up as women to obtain access to young children are perverts. It’s really that simple. Their sin is sexual desire for young boys or girls.

To be certain, sin is sin. Sexual sin, as it profanes the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, gets a special mention by Paul. (1 Corinthians 6:18) Fornication, adultery, lust, pornography, homosexuality, pick a perversion, all condemn equally.

The homosexual’s lust for the same sex is no worse than your persistent porn abuse. The pedophile’s perversity is in the same family as your wandering eye, though one could biblically argue that sin against an innocent child ups the ante.

But what of deception?

The enemy labors at proliferating a multitude of lies, including the denial of basic human anatomy, biology, and sexuality. What of those who’ve believed these lies, who define themselves by their sin instead of how God sees them? Is there room for mental illness?

When I consider the recent phenomenon of transgender—and until a few years ago, this was not even really a thing—I think of prison, bondage, captivity. At some point, they believed the satanic lie that they could ‘identify’ as whatever they like. Maybe they took steps. Maybe they began hormone therapy, started dressing as a woman, altered their appearance, changed their name.

Maybe they cut off their junk.

Wartime Junk

Back to the battlefield.

I always landed like a cement refrigerator. Every single time.

The T-10D parachute was rated to deliver 360lbs gently to the earth at a bone-shattering rate of 22 to 24 feet per second. Needless to say, the heavier you are, the harder you hit.

I recall my first jump at Benning. My stick leader was a female, pushing 110 pounds max, maybe 120. At 230 pounds without equipment, I was fifth out the door and first to the ground. As I lay there for just a second, shaking, shocked by the impact. I look skyward to behold her still open canopy as she lightly drifted to the ground.

Meanwhile, I’m giving myself a quick once-over. Legs. Not broken. Back. Solid. Junk. Yep, all good.

Lemme ask you a question…if you’re a man of course. An arm or your junk? A leg? Both legs?

David Wood interviewed members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines before they went off to fight in Afghanistan. They spoke quietly of their deepest fear. Not dying. Not losing an arm or a leg. It was having their genitals crushed, ripped off, or burned up in the fiery blast of an improvised explosive device. 

I understand. I truly do.

One Day

Imagine the horror.

You’re a pawn. You’re fodder. You’re a conscript.

Maybe at one point you felt different, or you liked something different. You liked dolls instead of trucks or football instead of ballet. Maybe you liked to wear opposite gender clothing, your mother’s shoes, whatever. You didn’t fit the mold.

Until recently, you would have been affirmed that you were exactly who God made you to be, in His image, male or female. Maybe you have some idiosyncrasies but they are just that, wonderful deviations to God’s design.

I have a friend, a great man of God. He is artsy, a painter, loves flowers and the violin. He is also a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I can imagine what could happen to him today as a young boy with these moderately effeminate propensities.

Back to the hypothetical scenario.

So, the most influential people in your lives, your parents, in the interest of progressiveness, foster your unique characteristics and encourage you to entertain notions of transition and the spectrum. As a youngster, these are fuzzy-sounding terms but as you age, they take on meaning.

You are affirmed at every turn, encouraged to be brave, to be yourself, practically goaded to take further action.

You are injected with hormones and drugs, suppressing growth, permanently altering your body. You take on a new life and at some point, explore a permanent “solution”, sex-change surgery. There’s no such thing as assignment, so I’ll refrain from using the Orwellian term, re-assignment.

Once the surgery is complete, you can now bask and revel in your new identity. There’s only one small problem.

It’s a lie, all of it. At some point, that awful truth will confront you.

You cut off your junk for the sake of a lie.

The lie resonates in its permanency.

Parting Glass

There’s tragedy at the bottom of the slippery slope.

Tragedy abounds.

Kids being subject to the wicked perversions of grown men, forever scarred. Men walking from marriages, wives and children, to pursue shameful lust. Government and societal affirmation. The disintegration of nuclear families. The grooming of the next generation. The continual drift into who knows what is next.

Lost in the broader context of the cutthroat battle for the heart of a nation is the ruined lives and lost souls of people. These are people, lest we forget, made in the image of God, deceived into living a lie, and for the transgender people, perhaps taking a step that can never be reversed. Imagine that day, looking into the mirror in horror and thinking, “What have I done?” Is it any wonder that transgenders commit suicide at an astonishing rate.

Help trans people get the help they need. Yes, but that help is not affirmation. That help is not assurance.

That help is the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus that tells them that they are exactly one thing, who God made them to be, whether they believe it or not.

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Great Desire of a Woman

Shhh.

Don’t tell anyone.

I have a secret. I’d like to share it with you.

It’s a special secret, one written before the foundation of time.

It has to do with women, with your woman.

Would you like to know?

Her great desire…

To be unconditionally loved…

A woman wrestles with worth, value, her sense of security.

Am I pretty?

Am I too fat?

Am I desirable? Am I worthy? How do I compare?

Thoughts like this consume the mind of a woman.

From her youngest days, the mirror is her friend and her enemy, the men in her life, first her father and then her husband, her biggest encouragers or her greatest demoralizers. The system is rigged against her, stacking her up against the others, measuring her worth by that which will slowly and inevitably fade, if it was ever there in the first place according to the godless standards of a dying world.

And as it fades, a satanic question haunts some, “Will he still love me?”

Her father should have instilled in her, from a young age, her internal and external beauty. A father ought to imbue her with a sense of worth independent of that bestowed by a man, that bestowed only by Christ. Maybe you lucked out in that regard. Probably not though.

Scripture tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) At my ugliest, at my worst, I was a hater of God, a wicked slave to self and sin and yet…Christ died for me, while I was yet a sinner! He died for me as I hated Him. What amazing love, what unconditional love.

Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Love her unconditionally.

Love her when you don’t feel like it. Love her when she doesn’t please you. Love her when she isn’t meeting your needs or doing what you perceive she ought to do. Love her when she is at her most unlovable…just like Christ did for you.

A woman’s heart is fragile and delicate, a beautiful ceramic vase. Will you cherish it, protect it, or will you dash it against the wall, shattering it into oblivion?

To be fiercely loved…

Christ possesses a fierce and unwavering love for His people.

He left the 99 to seek out the one, you. (Luke 15:4)

He suffered the brutal death of crucifixion, for you. (1 Peter 3:18)

He willingly drank the full cup of the wrath of God, that you might live. (John 18:11)

Jesus fiercely loves His people. A woman desires to be loved in much the same way. She desires to be loved and pursued, to be sought after because she possesses great value to the pursuer, you.

Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Love her fiercely.

To be gently loved…

Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Great I Am, God incarnate who presently sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. God is in the business of putting all things in subjection to Him and He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, shattering both kings and kingdoms.

And one day, He will return, in power and glory, and He will judge and make war. He will set all things right as He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty, glory hallelujah!

He came first as the Lamb, humbly going to the cross for you.

What is gentleness but power restrained, power rightly channeled. Man, you possess unmerited power, power for great good…or power for great destruction.

There exists today, a general coarsening of society as revealed by our treatment of our women. We have “elevated” them to the position of “equal” with men. Translation: we see nothing special or significant in them at all. We treat them as we treat other men—and if you think that is good, I’d ask how well men treat other men. Most men view aggression and derision as perfectly normal attitudes toward other men and increasingly, toward women.

But consider Christ’s great love for you. You deserve one thing, and only one thing, that He slay you in your sins. Yet, He chose to love you, gently, tenderly.

O’ man, sheath your sword, and love your wife in the same way, gently, tenderly, just as Christ loves you.

To be loved…and led.

Many will denounce this aspect but I remain convinced…

…the vast, vast majority of women desire that their men lead them and their families, spiritually speaking. Perhaps this is her greatest desire, maybe her greatest need.

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Paul commands. (Ephesians 5:25) He expounds further, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” (v.26)

Men, lead your wives, your families, in following the Lord.

Today, most of you have abdicated your responsibility to lead. You’ve surrendered it, in the church and in the home. Most families today, even if the father is present, are led by the woman. Today’s caricature of man is a doofus, a beer-guzzling slacker, a limp-wristed coward.

To spiritually lead your family would impose. You come home from a hard day’s work and you just want to chill. By golly, you’ve earned it. Dinner ought to be on the table, kids quiet, maybe some t.v. later or some internet surfing. You don’t really have the time or the energy to make disciples of your kids, or to wash your wife in the water of the word. What does that even mean?

Or, conversely, you refuse to claim that which God has given to you on the basis of fear and cowardice. You’ve bought into gender equality—which I pray we’ve debunked—and consider it condescending to even think about leading. The idea of roles, the idea of leadership, cuts across the grain of our godless hearts. We bristle at the notion of male headship, though God’s word speaks clearly on the matter.

We’ve confused godly submission with secular subjugation.

God commands it and women desire it. Her great desire is that you would lead her in the pursuit of the Lord so, for God’s sake man, lead! 

As Christ loved the church.

Please don’t hear me speak from any position of self-righteousness.

I’ve failed a thousand times. More than that.

I’ve loved selfishly, conditionally. I’ve taken her love for granted. I’ve slandered her grace. I’ve made my wife cry more times than I care to admit, the proverbial bull in the china shop and most of all, I’ve failed to lead. I’ve been too tired, too distracted, too engaged elsewhere and let’s face it, I don’t really know what to do or how to do it.

Like you, I never had this modeled for me.

But I seek to follow Him in this manner. I seek my wife’s heart in this way. When I fail, I confess to Him and ask her for forgiveness and then move ahead, praying that the Spirit would empower me to rise and love her better.

So, where is the problem? Now that you know, what will you do? The problem is this, it’s impossible to give away that which you do not have. It is impossible to lead your wife in following Christ, if you yourself do not follow Christ.

Love your wife as Christ loved the Church, just as He loves you.

Or does He?

Do you know the love of Christ?

You cannot love like Christ without knowing that love yourself. Would you know Him today?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Preaching of a Lawless Gospel

I wanted to simultaneously vomit and punch myself in the testicles.

That was it?

A couple hundred youth sat captive and all we could muster was that?! The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) had approached me about this particular event. The organizers bring in Christian celebrities who preach to high school kids.

“Do they preach the Gospel or is it motivational-type stuff?”

“Oh yeah, they preach it. Kids get saved!” I was reassured. So I agreed to advocate and support the event and with eager anticipation, attended that night. Two hours later, I was thoroughly disappointed. I looked back at a mentor of mine who sat shaking his head.

We missed the mark. We preached a lawless gospel.

“What about your heart?” the speaker, a coach, queried of the students.

The Importance of the Law

The second thing Jesus mentions, in the Sermon on the Mount, is the Law. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

At Sinai, God gave men the Law. We must account for it.

There is vast confusion concerning the Law.

Most people have at least heard of the Ten Commandments, know that they exist, but what of the other confusing commands. Does God really care about the fabric of my shirt and want me to stone my wayward son? (Deuteronomy 22:11, Deuteronomy 21:18-21) Does He forbid tattoos, interest on loans, or a man with a crushed testicle from entering the tabernacle? (Leviticus 19:28, Deuteronomy 23:19, Deuteronomy 23:1)

Many enemies of God wield these same aspects of the Law against unprepared Christians.

“You wearing a synthetic blend? Well, there you go cherry-picking again. Hypocrite.”

As such, apathy governs many Christian’s view of the Law. “It’s irrelevant”, echoing the sentiments of some popular preachers proclaiming that we must “unhitch” from the Old Testament. After all, we’re under grace, not law.

The 2nd century heretic Marcion popularized such beliefs, even going so far as to erase Old Testament quotations from the New and reverse the commands given by Jesus so that it read, “I did not come to [fulfill] the Law, but to [abolish] it.”

As easy as it would be, may we not imitate Marcion, or Stanley, or legions of others who trivialize that which is necessary, vital even.

The Place of the Law

The Law serves a number of functions.

The Law reveals the character of God. The Law distinguished Israel from the Gentile nations. The Law provides useful guidance on how to live but most of all, the Law drives men to Christ.

The moral law, the Ten Commandments, establishes an impossible standard and perfection is that standard!

Jesus confirms this in verse 20 and later as well, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) From James and Paul, if you violate one commandment, you violate them all. (James 2:10, Galatians 3:10) Consider that the Fall occurred because the couple violated a single command.

Allow me to restate: By the violation of one single command, sin doomed billions to death and devastation.

Further, the only suitable penalty for sinning against an eternal God is death, eternal death. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus confirms that this means eternal punishment in hell. (Matthew 5:29-30) John concurs. (Revelation 20:12)

The Law paints man into an impossible corner, a corner from which he cannot escape. The Law confronts man with an impossible standard and inconceivable consequences for failing to meet those same standards.

The Law renders a man helpless and powerless before a wrathful and holy God.

The Law and the Gospel

It is only from this context that the Gospel resonates.

From this foundation, God sends the Redeemer, Jesus, the only One to live a sinless life, to meet the conditions of the Law. As such, Jesus provides a suitable and one time sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe.

Jesus pays the due penalty, propitiating the wrath of God against those who would otherwise be judged. They receive mercy, others receive justice, those who will not believe. No one receives injustice.

It is this base understanding of helplessness, of powerlessness, that drives men to their knees in conviction. That we may be like the tax collector, standing on the corner, who can’t even look to God but can only beat his chest and declare, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” Jesus declares. (Matthew 4:17) How could I repent without first knowing what I must repent from?

The Danger of a Lawless Gospel

“Who owns your heart?”

This question makes sense in terms of the Gospel. If I understand the Gospel, my sin and standing before God, then I understand that my heart is desperately wicked. Who can understand it? I understand that only in regeneration, when the Holy Spirit gives me the promised new heart, may I believe.

He rips my heart of stone from my chest and replaces it with a heart of flesh.

I understand that I don’t give my heart to God. He takes it.

I don’t invite Him into my heart. He kicks in the door.

He crushes it. My heart.

“Who owns your heart?”—a perfectly valid question in the context of the Gospel in its entirety, including the Law. On its own merits, utterly meaningless.

I sat watching. Ten or so youth occupied the table immediately in front of me. “Who owns their heart?” I wondered. They were preoccupied with the chick at the next table, the other guy’s french fries, their shoes, when was this going to be over, anything but the message. The sheer absence of conviction stunned me.

How could anyone believe without the Gospel being preached? (Romans 10:14)

My disappointment was complete.

The celebrity coach issued lots of encouragement. Work hard. Do your best. Set your priorities. Make good decisions. He mentioned his faith, about when he invited Jesus into his heart and got baptized but it was merely in line with everything else, just another way that he excelled, another thing that he did well.

I had a fleeting moment of hope as he concluded. “This is it,” I thought. Now comes the Gospel. I leaned forward in anticipation.

Do your absolute best and don’t forget to be on Team Jesus.

I was crest-fallen. This was an inspirational man.

No one is inspired into the Kingdom of Heaven.

They are convicted into it.

How many false converts occupy American churches as the firstfruits of a lawless Gospel?

The Fruit of a Lawful Gospel

I recall the first time I heard the Gospel, the Gospel message with all of its power, its authority…its teeth.

The Gospel message confronted me with my sin for the very first time. It confronted me with the uncomfortable notion that I was not okay and that I was powerless to change my condition. It confronted me with the wrath of holy and righteous God who was angry at my sin…

…and then it offered me rescue, the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus.

Only when I understand His wrath, does the love of God resonate.

Only when I understand His justice does mercy make sense.

Perhaps so many Christians seem unmoved by the love of God because they are ignorant of the wrath of God. The Law is a hammer that drives us to Christ for justification. A lawless gospel is not really a Gospel at all.

Let us crucify it.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

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