You’ll never find an obligation that isn’t closely associated, in its context with a gospel declaration. The Bible never starts with what we need to do; it always begins with what God has already done. To get it the other way around makes Christianity just another self-help program, just another curriculum of self-improvement. Self-improvement for the sake of self-improvement is not the gospel; it’s not biblical Christianity. And yet so many people, both inside and outside the church, think that’s what Christianity is all about. Jesus or no Jesus, we just want everything to be clean and safe. Jesus or no Jesus, we just want our kids to behave and to achieve. Jesus or no Jesus, we just want our marriage to be easy and personally fulfilling.
Most of us become guilty of this Christless Christianity because we look at the Bible and we see all of the imperatives without first being washed by the indicatives. We spend more time asking what would Jesus do instead of what did Jesus do.
We have to keep reminding ourselves of the difference between moralism and the gospel. We have to keep remembering that the reason Christ came was first of all not to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. If we forget that, our Christianity will turn out to be Christless.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Tulian Tchividjian, 154