In an earlier post here at The Battle Cry, it was stated that “God doesn’t need people to save anyone – you, me or anyone else. It’s our Great Privilege to take the good news to the world around us.” In fact, it’s this author’s opinion that sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Greatest Privilege our great God has bestowed upon His children. This is the first in a series ofposts that will address the critical issue of presenting the right message.
What IS the Gospel?
In the first chapter of the book of Romans the Apostle Paul states:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:18
Here Paul tells us that the power of the gospel is what is used by God to save anyone in the lost mass of humanity that would believe it. So what exactly was it that Paul was not ashamed of, that he declared to people everywhere he traveled and even to those who despised him, stoned him, arrested him, and cast him in to prison? Speaking to believers in the church he founded at Corinth, Paul has this to say:
“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Note that Paul is reminding those believers of what he had previously preached, what he had previously received (from Christ), and what was of first importance. Paul them presents two points; that Christ died for our sins, and that He was resurrected. He also pointed out that the death and resurrection of Christ were both according to the scriptures and validated by the historical facts of Christ’s burial (validated His death), and His having been seen by many of His followers (validated His resurrection).
This then is THE gospel; that Christ physically died for our sin, and was physically raised from the dead SO THAT those who would believe in Him would be saved!!
It is not difficult at all to remember Paul’s definition of the gospel, but if we are to share these simple truths we must first be able to what it means that “Christ died for our sins.”, for it is in the explanation of that statement that we so often miss the point. That is partly our fault for not having read, studied, and believed what is plainly written in the pages of scripture; but we are also fed a diet of watered down scripture and postmodern teaching that either incorrectly defines, or omits entirely, what the Apostle Paul emphatically emphasized as being “of first importance”!
Approximately fifty years ago, A.W. Tozer had this to say:
“In many churches Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone!”
If we are to be faithful to our calling to share the gospel, there are three things we need to understand and be able to explain solely from the standpoint of inspired Scripture, and not merely according to the opinions and viewpoints of popular preachers, speakers, authors, and evangelists. We must to be able to:
(1) properly define OUR sin,
(2) explain what it means that Christ died for OUR sin, and
(3) communicate what it means to believe that Christ died for OUR sin.
Those will be topics of posts to follow. . .