“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Telling people that they need the Gospel is important but it is not itself the Gospel. When we explain what Christ has done for us, we must include in that proclamation the Gospel. We explain the benefits of receiving the Gospel and the perils of ignoring it.
Therefore it is essential that we are able to clearly define with biblical preciseness just exactly what the Gospel is.
Frequently, we hear the testimonies of people that are usually in a first person narrative. “I have decided to follow Jesus.” “I know that I have Jesus in my heart.” “I have asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.” “I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me.” These are all answers that may be given in answer to the question that may be asked: “How do you know that God will accept you?” All those answers are really quite lacking. No where in those answers do we hear the Gospel.
So why should the Lord accept any one of us? Is it because of something we have done…..some prayer we may have prayed….some card we may have filled out?
The centrality of the Gospel in much of the church today is not heard, nor, for that matter, sufficiently taught and explained. Pastors have the responsibility to preach and to teach the church the Gospel with such fervency and zeal that it can be grasped and responded to with all clarity and understanding.
The Gospel itself means “good news”. It is good news for one reason. Through the redemptive work of Christ’s death on the cross mankind is saved and the righteousness that God alone demands in His holy presence is imputed to those who believe in His Son.
So…..when we are asked, “Why should the Lord accept us?”, the centrality of the Gospel will give us this answer: “I know that God will accept me because God gave His only Son to die on the cross for me.”
When we consider this answer, we affirm that the finished, completed work of Jesus’ sacrificial death, is the centrality of the Gospel.
This is the Gospel that Paul and all the apostles preached in all kinds of lands, in all kinds of circumstances, to all kinds of people. The Gospel gives the answer as to why Jesus died. No man is spiritually cleansed and redeemed apart from that which the Gospel declares.
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15,16)