The title’s few simple words of a children’s Sunday School song have been sounding over and over in my head lately. It stems from stopping to consider one key word of our Christian existence – gospel. After all, it’s what Jesus told His disciples to share with the whole world, just before He ascended to heaven.
Mark 16:15 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Just what is this gospel we are to share with the whole world? In brief, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says the English word gospel denotes the good tidings of the kingdom of God and salvation through Christ and what He did, which is to be received by faith alone. We don’t have to work to receive or keep salvation. It is in Jesus Christ and His finished work alone. This truly is good news! But, do the messages we hear always sound forth the simplicity of this truly good news?
If the gospel is good news, then it is always totally good news. The completed gospel of Jesus Christ will stir our faith and bring us into deeper revelation of freedom from condemnation and guilt, with its post-salvation lie of working to make ourselves righteous. It will always exalt the finished work of Jesus on the cross and expand our understanding of the perfect and unconditional love of our Father for us, which removes all fear. When what we hear from our pulpits, our fellowship with one another, Bible studies, online ministry, etc., produces anything contrary to these things, we are not hearing the gospel.1 Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly2 – because He paid the price for our sin and unrighteousness already, not because He would help us work to become righteous.
The reality of the gospel needs to be the filter for every message we hear, in whatever form the message takes. Then we can receive only that which Jesus came to give, and discard that which would draw us back into the place from which we were saved. Confusion will be greatly diminished, and that peace that passes understanding will be greatly increased.
What are you listening to and receiving? Be careful, little ears, what you hear!1 Galatians 2 John 10:10