Let me just be clear and let you know where I stand on the topic; Jesus plus nothing = the Gospel. In and of itself, open and shut case, take that to the bank.
Here’s the problem though. I hear so many people lately, probably longer than that really, that are throwing all these things on top of the Gospel. Things like be a good person, go to church, give to charity, only wear this type of clothes to church, blah, blah, blah. In and of itself those things are great and most Christians I would hope would do that; but those things are not the Gospel.
You see when you add anything to the saving grace of Jesus it becomes religion. I am constantly annoyed by people who think that Christianity is a religion. Religion is really just a form of behavior modification. It’s a series of steps that make you feel moral and in turn in good standing with a holy God. The Bible itself calls out these people in Matthew 7:22. Many people think that acting right or saying the right things will earn grace but it won’t, it’s ultimately a heart issue.
Behavior modification won’t work. All of history shows that it doesn’t matter what we do we can never seem to follow the rules, we need grace, unearned grace.
**edit** It’s odd how the Spirit works. I’ve been thinking about this topic for weeks and this morning we discussed it in Church.