The gospel changes everything.
The word gospel means ‘good news’. The gospel is not advice, nor a recommendation, nor some suggestions to consider. It is not a set of rules to keep, a philosophy to envision, a virtuous way to live, nor pillars to uphold.
The gospel is the good news of Jesus and what He has done for us. That is the reason why the gospels of Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus, placing him in a time and place, within a community, in history.
Scripture reveals that God created man to live in harmony with one another and to love, trust, and obey Him for His glory. Ignoring God, mankind failed miserably, becoming lovers of self, seeking to do things their own way, resulting in separation from God and, finally, eternal death. This is the bad news!
The good news is that Jesus came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus healed, taught, comforted, and performed many miracles to demonstrate his merciful divinity. However, his primary purpose, that of first importance, was the divine substitutionary act of bearing our punishment by laying down his life for us.
The language of substitution is expressed in various forms in the New Testament. In market-place language, Jesus bore the debt we owe God for our sins by paying the ransom price on our behalf. In legal language, Jesus took the penalty, on our behalf, as retribution for our transgressions against God’s law.
Sin is not only a transgression and a debt owed but also an evil force that weakens and controls us. Military language is used to proclaim the victory that Jesus secured on our behalf. Ironically, Jesus did not overpower evil with force but disarmed rulers and authorities through the weakness of death. He then triumphed in his resurrection.
The gospel story climaxes in the historical event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. This event was prophesied in the Old Testament, witnessed by many, and written in the New Testament for us to receive, accept, repent, believe, and proclaim. God, in His divine mercy and grace, offers this gift freely at all times, to all peoples, in all places. It is a message of grace because it is an unconditional gift. This wonderful, good news must surely be proclaimed to everyone from every race, status, culture, and nationality.”
Amazingly, the gospel is not just good news for the non-Christian but the Christian as well. It is not just a milestone that you achieve. It is an epicenter that you need to constantly stand in, stand on, and stand for.
J.D. Greear said: “The gospel is not merely the diving board off which we jump into the pool of Christianity, it’s also the pool itself.”
“Amazingly, the gospel is not just good news for the non-Christian but the Christian as well. It is not just a milestone that you achieve. It is an epicenter that you need to constantly stand in, stand on, and stand for.”
The gospel is how you come to faith, stay in faith, and grow in faith. It’s a continuous action, a process. We grasp, hold fast, and cling to the gospel because it is of first importance in every aspect of life. It is the epicenter from which life emanates, the lens through which we see, and the nucleus of our personal, relational, social, corporate, and spiritual life. The gospel shapes our lives as it is applied to our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, leading to radical transformation. The gospel changes everything.
The implication of the gospel as the epicenter that changes everything is that it overflows out of our mouths with passion.
There are about 10 million people in the Klang Valley. If 3% are Christians, this means about 9.7 million people will face the wrath of God. Sin is a deadly reality.
Thabiti Anyabwile said: “The wrath of God will cost everyone their lives, the unreached people, their lives in eternity, or the Christians, their lives in missionary service. The gospel is only good news if it gets there on time.”
If the people in the Klang Valley do not hear it during their lifetime, the gospel will be the bad news of God’s judgment upon them.
Proclaiming the gospel is difficult because we must deal with sinful people who will often reject and judge us. It is hard because, at the same time, we are to be patient, gracious, and loving. In time, we will surely run dry and tend to give up. Only if the gospel is our epicenter will we instinctively look to the cross and remember how Jesus took our place, how he was beaten, mocked, and scorned on our behalf. He was rejected by his friends and family to ultimately give his life for us. As we refresh ourselves with this good news, the gospel will be precious to us once more.
Charles Spurgeon said: “If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love.”