NBC has a series of public service announcements entitled "The More You Know." It offers advice on navigating pressing social issues. The general idea is that if we are just aware and have the information, we can make good decisions, be healthier, and safer. Does it really come down to being informed?
I have written previous posts that offer trends and issues that are killing the visible church in America. All of the issues and trends come back to a common source: trusting ourselves more than Christ and His gospel. We reduce it all to information to know or just "being informed," then we, in our infinite wisdom and abilities, can live the "Christian life."
Some Christians can tell you basic aspects of the gospel. Many talk about the gospel in church. Many hear the word gospel and make it a synonym for the word "true." However, few can tell someone else the gospel accurately (that is according to how Scripture describes it) and even fewer actually live the gospel. We have reduced the gospel to a bit of information to know. Church preaching and teaching often focuses on "practical" needs like how to have a better marriage, manage finances, raise kids, overcome anxiety, etc. Scripture certainly addresses these things, but it always points back to Christ and His gospel in these matters.
The gospel is not simply a bit of information to know. The gospel is to be lived out, for it is the only thing powerful enough to transform every part of our lives and shape our eternity.
Romans 1:16-17 makes this clear. The apostle Paul spoke of being obligated to both Greeks and barbarians, to the foolish and the wise (v. 8-15). Paul crossed social boundaries between such groups and this would have been suspicious behavior in the ancient world. Yet, he is not ashamed of the gospel. He is not embarrassed by it because it is the power of God, more powerful than any social norm or boundary. He is also not embarrassed by it because it reveals God's righteousness. God did not wink at our sins and negate His moral attributes. He punished sin at the cross. The fact that the punishment is not upon us is called mercy and grace. This mercy and grace can only be handed out by the One against whom the sin was committed. God satisfies His justice and mercy at the cross.
When Christians live out the gospel in daily life, growing in maturity, that is "from faith to faith," it impacts the world around us. The fact Christ died for our sins and rose again is not simply information for the new convert. It is a truth that is to be lived out by the believer. When we fail, Christ's work on the cross is where we return to get perspective and healing. Our salvation includes our spiritual growth (Philippians 2:12-13). We are saved by His grace and in that gospel He has provided opportunities to continue to grow in that salvation and grace (Ephesians 2:10). Both American Christians and the culture around us are missing out on the power of the gospel because we have reduced it to mere information instead of a daily lifestyle, and this is killing the church in America.