We hear so much from religious circles about the gospel. There is gospel music, gospel choirs, gospel meetings. Everything is “gospel.” I have even heard of a Gospel horse and a gospel dog! I have to admit, when I hear people talk about the gospel, to me, it is a vague term that is accompanied by stained glass and religious services, topped with pretty music.
Religion has produced a concept of the gospel that is essentially this: God has done something for you , so, in return, do something for Him – or else!
Self righteous religion makes the gospel about sin. Religious folks love to point out the faults of others. Then they make the gospel about “cleaning up your act.” In other words, they tell you that you need to clean up you life or else God will punish you, and that punishment is forever!
Then they bring you into bondage by telling you that you must join a local club, called a church where they further bind you down to various programs that are supposed to prove the reality of you conversion to God. Sunday services, Wednesday services, Saturday morning devotionals, and Friday night flag pole sittings! And do not forget the offering plate to help support this multi – million dollar business – excuse me, Church!
But this concept is foreign to Scripture. In order to understand the gospel, you need to step out of the smoke and mirrors of Religion to understand it. You need to clear your mind of stained glass and self help programs. So lets go to Scripture. Scripture that was written not in an Theologians office, surrounded by stained glass, but at kitchen tables, in homes, surrounded by coffee cups and dust on the floor.
The Apostle Paul, the apostle to the nations said this: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans 1:16
The gospel, or good news, is not about you or your failures, but it is about the accomplishments of God’s Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The gospel is God’s power for salvation—nothing else can take its place. There is no other power in the universe which can turn men to God. All the modern substitutes, like the attempt to “clean up your act,” or emotional excitement, cannot save or make men right before God. The sounds of the church organ or choir cant help either. The gospel alone, without any additions or apologies, is able to justify anyone who believes.
The gospel is a very simple message. Here it is:
1.Christ died for our sins. God’s Son was actually dead. He was not alive. He was not floating around anywhere in some “spirit” form. He was dead. Death was lord over Him for three days. He went to a cross, and died for our sins.
2.He was buried. After He died, they placed his body in a tomb, then they put a stone at the entrance.
3.He rose again the third day. He actually got up off the slab on which they laid Him in the tomb. He got up, flesh and bone, and walked around, alive.
That’s it. That is the message
Now, when you think about all that Christ has done for you, do not think: “Since He did so much for me, I need to do something for Him!” The Gospel does not bring obligations. There are no strings attached, no obligations to fulfill. You are now justified. The Gospel is not your great opportunity to do something for God! Just look at the Cross and all that Christ did and realize that there is nothing left undone! You cant pay him back so do not try! Simply believe it and thank Him! You will find that when you embrace this message, you will not have to manufacture “good works,” but they will flow naturally. Get the message right, and the fruit will follow.
Proclaimed by Dan Sheridan