Simply Sweet Gospel
What comes to your mind when you think of the Gospel? Perhaps it’s memories of someone you know coming to Christ, or maybe it’s memories of your own coming to Christ. Maybe what comes to your mind was a time when you learned how to share the gospel better for purposes of evangelism. Perhaps it’s memories of explaining the various elements of the gospel message to a young child. What is it, what comes to mind?
What is your disposition towards the gospel message? Is it just as amazing to you now as when you first heard it? Do you still highly esteem it, or do you think of it as nothing more that the bare fundamentals of Christianity, something to move past once you’ve grown as a Christian? Would you rather exchange a conversation about the gospel for a conversation about some topic to be found in a systematic theology textbook? What is your disposition towards the gospel message?
Many Christians view the gospel as something unique for evangelism, but less than relevant for “mature” Christians. They think mature Christians need to move onto systematic theology, hermeneutics, apologetics, etc., and should leave the subject of the gospel to evangelists and times of evangelism. My friends, this kind of thinking is woefully inaccurate and elementary. The truths contained within the gospel message are the goal and foundation of much of Scripture and are at the beginning and end of the Christian’s life.
The gospel is the goal of entire Old Covenant. No matter where you are in the Old Testament, you find an irresistible current drawing you to Christ and what He accomplishes on the cross. He is the promised child of Eve who delivers the crushing blow to the serpent. He is ultimate "child of the promise" to Abraham, who will bring blessings to the nations. He is the greater priest-king whom Melchizedek foreshadowed. He is the one whom Joseph’s humiliation and exaltation pointed to. His greater deliverance of God’s people was foreshadowed by Moses’s deliverance of the Israelites. He is the true Passover lamb. He is the Rock of Moses who bore the punishment of God’s people; and this is just parts of the first few books of the Bible. All of the Old Testament leads dramatically and finally to Christ’s person and work!
As Jesus himself said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” – John 5:39
Any wholehearted and diligent study of the Old Testament leads you powerfully and undeniably to Christ and His work on the cross, and it is the person and work of Christ which is proclaimed in the gospel message.
The gospel is also the foundation of the New Covenant, whose realities and blessings were ushered in by Christ’s work on the cross. Practically every single book of the New Testament expounds on topics made possible by the person and work of Jesus. There would be no church to discuss in Acts apart from the cross and Jesus’ subsequent ascension. There would be no realities of justification to be discussed in Romans apart from the cross. There would be no new life to be discussed in Colossians apart from the cross. There would be no humility to be discussed in Philippians apart from Christ’s exemplifying it to the point of the cross; and this is just a small slice of the books of the New Testament! Practically all of the truths of the New Covenant rest firmly upon Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension. I encourage you, pick up a Biblical Theology, pick up a book about Christ in all of Scripture, and one thing astoundingly clear: Christ’s person and work is the center, focal point, foundation, and goal of all Scripture.
The gospel is also at the beginning of a person’s life as a Christian. It is the through the hearing of and responding to the truths of the gospel that one experiences spiritual regeneration and comes into a saving relationship with the Savior. It is from this origin point that a Christian then strives to grow as a believer: serving in ministry, growing in love and knowledge of God, growing in theological understanding, striving to be God’s hands and feet to the world around him. It is through the truths contained in the gospel message that we’re able to most clearly see God’s love for us, which correspondingly fuels our love for others.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:9-10
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
The gospel is also at the metaphorical “end” of a Christian’s life on earth. Whether it be months, years, or decades of studying Scripture, an exacting and thorough study of God's Word will always lead you back to Christ. One may think he can move past the gospel, in order to study some perceived “greater” theological truth; only to eventually find himself back at the gospel message, once the roots of his study take him there. You can never outrun the person and work of Christ in the pages of Scripture, no matter how many years you spend studying it.
What is your disposition towards the gospel message? Do you simply want to move past it and onto “greater” theological truths? Do you disregard the person and work contained within? Do you want to discuss God’s character without studying its clearest manifestation in the person of Christ? Do you want to discuss the church without discussing the person and work which founded it? Do you want to discuss sin without discussing the person and act that atoned for it? Do you want to discuss man without discussing who redeemed him? Do you want to discuss end times without discussing he who is coming back? Do you want to discuss prayer without discussing he who taught and exemplified it? My friends, any discussion of Systematic Theology is rooted in Christ and His work. Any discussion of Biblical Theology obviously and overtly leads to Him.
It is the person and work of Christ that is contained in the truths of the gospel message. I ask you again, what is your disposition towards it? Do you tire of it? Do you want to move past it? That is something we can never do. We can never move past the truths of the gospel message, for contained within is the person and work that is the goal and foundation of Scripture. What is your disposition towards it? Is it one of awe towards the person and work contained within? Let us be amazed, excited, and astounded by it. Let us passionately proclaim it to those dead in their sins. Let us edify other believers with the prominence of its position. Never move past the gospel! Always be amazed by it!