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Reflections on the Gospel
When the Gospel in the Church is not accurately taught or explained, people end
up not understanding the message of sin, they do not repent and cannot
experience salvation. In its place will always be a substitute message, for
example, a message that concentrates only on God’s love for us without
mentioning the ramifications of rejecting him. While it is true the Son was sent
because God loves us, it is only a part of the Gospel. It does not include the
implications of one’s sin and the punishment intended for sin that Christ took
upon himself in our place. Without the Gospel’s presentation of Christ as the
Savior of punishment from our sin, and not just the message of forgiveness of
sin, one can end up with a superficial knowledge of what the Gospel is all
about. This will only produce Church members, not true converts. A Gospel
without repentance, (a true change of mind) which produces a change of life,
leaves people trapped in their sin while still believing in Christ. They can
find themselves trapped in the sin they once practiced because they have not
clearly understood the offense of their sin toward God.
While we may not expect all the things pertaining to the Gospel to be fully
proclaimed each time it is presented, they certainly need to be taught
afterwards. It becomes part of ones discipleship, our spiritual growth to
maturity is dependent on these matters being learned.
Too many come away from church saying: “I now feel good about myself or I have a
positive outlook.” This is not the intention of God’s word. God’s word often
searches the heart to expose the unknown sin hidden inside us so we can deal
with it. God deals with our heart, which only the Spirit can reach and He uses
the word. Heb. 4:12: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and
of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart.” God’s intent is to change us to be like Jesus, not give us a boost in
self - confidence. God’s word gives us hope through His promises in Him who can
do far beyond what we think or ask for. This is obtained by faith and nothing
else. This is completely different than living based on a positive attitude that
expects good things to happen.
Jn.10:1, 8: My sheep hear MY voice; Jesus is the instructor, we are to look to
His Word. Men’s words, philosophies, or the teachers of the world will not
nourish you. Only those who present Christ’s words give you understanding to
grow in your spiritual walk to maturity. Self must decrease for Jesus to
increase and produce fruit. Many are in churches that teach human potential,
positive thinking wrapped up in biblical language and principles for living.
This has nothing to do with the gospel and is filled with concepts that are not
profitable for our spiritual growth. If we are increasing in our ways then we
are choking out His Word that is to form the image of Christ in us. In other
words, you learn to believe in Jesus but it has not affected them to change.
Before one can understand why there is even a gospel, we need to comprehend what
sin is, otherwise there is no need to have a gospel. This involves understanding
the nature of man that we all share, from Adam onward. The Gospel is God’s way
to deal with the fallen nature of man, the only way. The alienation of man from
God through human sin necessitates reconciliation. Knowing the dire position we
are all in, God through our short history began to deal with mankind in various
ways to bring us back into what He first intended for us. This is accomplished
through what is now known as the gospel.
Sin is something society does not want to hear about or consider to believe in.
It has become a dirty religious word to them, used to elicit guilt and shame,
which is necessary to convict a person of his separated state before a Holy and
righteous God. In like manner, the teaching of hell is as repulsive even though
it is the natural outcome of those who sin without being rescued by the gospel.
Jesus answered those who question him why he associated with sinners, “Those who
are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. “I have not come
to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk. 5:31-32). The gospel is
ignored and rejected by those who think they are well, complete, self-reliant.
This is why many people hear the gospel, but so few respond. Because they want
to enter into a relationship with God their own way, they are bound for heaven
because of their own good deeds. They have not understood God’s way as the only
It is popular to present Jesus as only one choice among many. This inclusiveness
damages the churches message that should be unified and brings a reproach to
Christ who was sent from heaven to die, for his way to be offered.
The gospel can be either sweet or bitter to those who hear it. Just as the sun
can either melt or harden a material. The sweetness of the Gospel is to those
who see their sinfulness and are willing to accept it as the ONLY solution; the
bitterness of the gospel is to those who reject God’s way. They would rather
stay spiritually dead in their sin but think of themselves as alive, they love
the things of the world, the works of their flesh more than God. They refuse to
allow the Word of God to do any work in their soul. Jesus scolded and gave men
warning "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses
his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)
We should never forget that the gospel is prompted by love from God’s mercy, He
does not want to judge us:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through Him might be saved." He who believes in Him is not condemned; but
he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God.
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17-19).
However, if the gospel is rejected He has no choice but to do so, because the
light has made known our condition and we have personally rejected the solution,
His Son and the work done for us to be reconciled to the Father.
The Bible states it is the “preaching of the cross” that contains “the power of
God” unto salvation, because only by believing the finished work of Jesus on the
cross can save us from our sins. There is only one way offered by God. 1 Cor.
1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.”
Paul speaks of the cross as an “offense” (Gal.5:11) in Greek “scandalon,”
meaning (scandal) a stumbling block. The cross which was used for crucifixion
was symbol of shame to the Romans but became something wonderful to the
Christians, for it spoke of the victorious one and his triumph over sin for
mankind. It was THE CROSS (crucifixion) that was ALWAYS preached for salvation!
1 Cor. 1:23-24 “but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block
and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
We are given the promise “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who
call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; he
also will hear their cry and save them” (Ps 145:18-19)
We are to call upon the Lord to be saved: For “whoever calls on the name of the
Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not
believed? (Rom. 10:13-14). “Call on” Gr. epikaleomai- means to cry out, to
invoke, as in a decision in relation to salvation (1 Cor.1:2).
If the word is not preached then what will produce faith? If the Gospel is not
clearly understood by a mind that is darkened from sin, no prayer is going to
work. The work of the Holy Spirit must be present to bring light, and He works
in concert with the word. It is faith God is looking for and faith comes from
hearing the word (Rom.10:17). This faith is placed in an object, the Lord Jesus
Christ. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). But
what does it mean to “believe”? It means knowing your condition, that you are a
sinner, and that Christ died for sinners, for you personally. You believe on him
ALONE to be saved, because of who He is. Believing in the facts is not enough,
Faith is alive and active or it cannot receive what is freely given.
Eph 1:13 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel
of your salvation”
Without faith being present; nothing one does, whether it be a prayer calling
out His name will result in salvation. The Bible simply says “With the heart man
believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation” (Rom. 10:10).
Without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit working there will be no
faith, one may raise their hand and come forward believing the message is true
but not having faith in the message and the one it is focused on will not bring
the new birth.
Constant avoidance of mentioning mans sinful condition is the very opposite
message of the great preachers that led revivals. From Peter onward
Acts 2:22-24: "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man
attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him
in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- "Him, being delivered by the
determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands,
have crucified, and put to death;"whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of
death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”.
Today, the resurrection is rarely mentioned - why Jesus died is barely
mentioned. How then is one to understand the gospel for their salvation? This
lack of clarity explains why universalism is growing in the church. Instead of
equipping the saints with the gospel, which is the only hope for all people, we
have newer ways.
Rom 1:16 “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
The gospel is the ABC’s of the church, if we are to be the pillar and ground of
the truth it must continually be proclaimed to unbelievers, explained and
reminded to the believers that this alone is what we stand in for eternal life.
When it is neglected, misunderstood or avoided the results will always be the
same. The choice is life or death to the recipients.