As I thought about this, I thought that I should use my Bible software to do a search of the word gospel in the New Testament to see how the gospel is described. Here is a list of things that I learned about the gospel from looking over the list along with a reference to where I found it. The list is not exhaustive; some of these appear in multiple places and I only list the reference to the first mention.
This morning I was challenged by a paragraph that I read in The Unbelievable Gospel by Jonathan K. Dodson. “In Christ, we possess a power that can rip the muzzle off, chase away the shadows, and bolster winsome, authentic gospel witness. That power lifted Jesus out of the grave, but it sits latent in our […]
In some churches I have attended, there is a sense that the gospel entails the elementary teaching of Christianity. To move toward maturity then requires that people move beyond the gospel into more “meaty” doctrinal teaching.
I have come to realize that this is wrong headed and leads not to maturity, but to immaturity. The effect of this teaching is the exact opposite of the desired result.
Under the Gospel, our hearts experience the softening that allows for a proper understanding of the role of the law.
It is necessary to use words. While we may, by our actions, lead someone into being different on the outside, it is only the gospel that can change someone on the inside. The gospel that changes people on the inside must be conveyed in words.
This realization will displace shame wherever it is found. Like spiritual chemotherapy, the Gospel goes on a seek-and-destroy mission against shame.
For that I am grateful.
In looking at all of these questions, I realize that there is a gap between my behavior and my belief. I believe in God’s love, I know that I am forgiven, I know that God is in control and I know that I have received and am to give grace. Yet, I do not always live according to that knowledge.
Some have expressed surprise and dismay that Christian leaders have been found to have their names on the list. But I don’t think that we should be surprised. The church is not filled with people who have it all together. We know this because they let us in and we do not have it all together. Whether our failures are obvious to others or not, we all fail.
The result of legalism is that those who are in the system cannot become what God intends them to be. Rather than a deepening understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, legalists are satisfied with rule keeping.
The Church of Jesus Christ should be the most gracious place on the planet but often it is not. If we are not consistently preaching the Gospel, if we are not reinforcing our need for a savior, if we are not intentional about living under grace, then we will become what the world thinks we are.