What’s worse is that the gospel can so easily be manipulated, adjusted, or twisted in slight, subtle ways and in doing so it can lose its saving power. Sometimes the gospel is only partially proclaimed, making it a false gospel that does not save. Sometimes emphasis lies too heavily on blessings within the gospel and not on the gospel itself—whereby people come to profess it not because they desire salvation from their sins and reconciliation to God but rather the goods that have been offered. So it must be clear what the message of the gospel is. You would be surprised to see how many different definitions of the gospel we would get by polling one hundred church goers. We’d probably get seventy to eighty different definitions. This is a problem.
Satan is no fool. If we understand Satan at all, we know that the greatest attack he can make on the world is to mess with the gospel. He will contribute to the damnation of more souls by slightly adjusting the gospel. The Bible says that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light! That means he knows how to make himself irresistibly attractive to some people. The lies that are so easily bought into are the lies that look so much like the truth. Many people calls themselves Christians but are actually believing a false gospel—one that looks so similar to the biblical one but in the end lands you right in the center of God’s fiery wrath.
Greg Gilbert wrote a book that has a very pertinent question for its title: What is the Gospel? In it he clearly shows us the biblical gospel as taught in God’s Word. In the beginning, to illustrate the unfortunate confusion around he quotes many different gospel definitions that have been given by “Christians” in the public sphere. Enjoy.
The good news is, God wants to show you his incredible favor. He wants to fill your life with “new wine,” but are you willing to get ride of your old wineskins? Will you start thinking bigger? Will you enlarge your vision and get rid of those old negative mind-sets that hold you back?
The message of Jesus may well be called the most revolutionary of all time: ‘The radical revolutionary empire of God is here, advancing by reconciliation and peace, expanding by faith, hope, and love—beginning with the poorest, the weakest, the meekest, and the least. It’s time to change your thinking. Everything is about to change. It’s time for a new way of life. Believe me. Follow me. Believe this good news so you can learn to live by it and be part of the revolution.
The good news is that God’s face will always be turned toward you, regardless of what you have done, where you have been, or how many mistakes you’ve made. He loves you and is turned in your direction, looking for you.
The gospel itself refers to the proclamation that Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, is the one, true, and only Lord of the world.
As a Christian, I am simply trying to orient myself around living a particular kind of way, the kind of way that Jesus taught is possible. And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live…Over time when you purposefully try to live the way of Jesus, you start noticing something deeper is going on. You begin realizing the reason this is the best way to live is that it is rooted in profound truths about how the world is. You find yourself living more and more in tune with ultimate reality. You are more and more in sync with how the universe is at its deepest levels…The first Christians announced this way of Jesus as “the good news.”
Well, what is the gospel? Is it really that confusing?
This is the continuation of a series:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Bible
Part 3: Just one gospel
Part 4: Faith comes by hearing
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