Do you hope and trust in your…
1. PROSPERITY: Are the physical blessings God gives you what marks your love for him and his love for you?
2. POVERTY: Is your willingness to give everything away and live in poverty what marks your love for God and God’s love for you?
3. THE GOSPEL: Is Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection alone, to free you from the penalty, power, and presence of sin, what marks God’s love for you and your love for God?
PROSPERITY THEOLOGY glorifies MAN by:
1) making him rich
2) making him able to supernatural heal
3) making him successful in worldly endeavors.
By man’s amount of faith and prosperity he knows that he is right with God.
POVERTY THEOLOGY glorifies MAN by:
1) making him poor
2) making him socially active
3) keeping him free from any worldly success
By man’s level of commitment to following Jesus and poverty he knows that he is right with God.
GOSPEL-CENTERED THEOLOGY glorifies GOD by Jesus:
1) making man spiritually, and one day physically, rich in God forever
2)freeing man from slavery to sin
3) giving man eyes to truly see and love Him
4) changing man to use everything for God’s glory
By the grace of God alone, through the work of Jesus Christ alone, man knows he is right with God. The answer to prosperity theology is not poverty theology. It’s the gospel. You can worship money, or you can worship God with money.
Only when faith and works flow from a heart that knows it is saved by sheer grace can you begin to call that faith or those works “good.”
Only the gospel of grace turns you from making much of yourself and frees you to truly make much of Jesus. In Luke 4:16-20, the people of Nazareth took the gospel to mean this: because of who they were, Jesus was going to overthrow the political power of their day, heal all physical illness, restore Israel, lift them up as the holy and chosen nation, and set up his headquarters in Nazareth because that’s where he grew up. They wanted Jesus to be their circus puppet, so they could make a name for themselves. They wanted Jesus to exercise his power in such a way as to glorify them, not God. They were wrong. Jesus is not a genie, a puppet, or a magician that will allow people to use him in order to exalt themselves in the world. Sadly, this is what those who follow both prosperity theology and poverty theology are (maybe even inadvertently!) seeking to do.
The gospel is not news that Jesus exalts you in the world—it’s better. It’s the good news that Jesus has come to put our relationship with our Creator back the way it’s supposed to be, with him as King and us as his joyful subjects. The gospel is the good news that Jesus, by sheer grace, has saved us from the penalty of sin, is saving us from the power of sin, and will one day save us from the presence of sin. Gospel-believing Christians live in light of this good news. Gospel-believing Christians don’t worry about their own prosperity or their own poverty; rather they simply live lives that glorify God through good works of love and telling people the good news of the finished work of Jesus. This brings God glory. This brings man great joy.
HOPE IN JESUS.
Are you hoping in your prosperity? It’s going to end. Turn from that and hope in Jesus and his work alone.
Are you hoping in your poverty? You could never give enough away to make God love you any more or less. Turn from that and hope in Jesus and his work alone.
Are you hoping in the gospel, in Jesus alone? Keep hoping in him. He will not let you down. He satisfies. In his presence there is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jesus is living, ruling, and reigning in heaven and will one day come back to bless all those who trust him. The story will end well for those dependent on Jesus. Don’t look down on others who are hoping in their prosperity or their poverty. Rather, gladly show them the good news that is all about Jesus and his work for sinners, not about sinners and their work for Jesus.
Always seeking your joy in Jesus,