Throughout the course of history, one of the simplest concepts known to man has been made painfully complicated.
The Too-Good-To-Be-True news of Jesus Christ and the Grace of His Kingdom has become so encrypted that it is believed by many that it takes a learned theologian to decipher it and make it understandable to the masses.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus wanted His truth to be understandable to even the simplest and most innocent among us.
Here’s what Jesus had to say:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-3)
Children are full of innocent curiosity. Their minds are growing but their thought processes are being continuously shaped.
In other words, they are being constantly conformed or transformed — like Romans 12:2 teaches us.
Here is the simplicity of the Gospel in one single verse:
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
It is not “for everyone who does the work of the church…”
It is not “for everyone who will live holy and righteous.”
It is not “for everyone who preaches…”
If you call on the name of Jesus in faith, you will be saved! Period!
You don’t need a “sinner’s prayer,” an “altar call,” or a “tarrying service” to help you!
This is why Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:3). We must be reborn as new babies in Christ.
Now, this is where it gets a little interesting — was Adam created as a baby or as an adult man? As an adult, right? Likewise, when you’re born again, you don’t become a helpless infant, you become as Adam was, fresh-out-of-the-mud! You have the capacity to do all things, you just don’t know it yet. Just like God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, we must have the Holy Spirit to awaken and quicken our mortal bodies into our new life!
Just like God expected Adam to be capable of ruling and reigning in the earth in a short period of time, God expects us to become functional as saints quickly. Notice I said, “functional,” not, “mature.”
There is a growing process. This is why we assemble together and mutually submit to discipleship.
The Gospel is not behavior modification — in other words, “do this and you’ll get that” or “don’t do this or you won’t get that.” No, the Gospel is a life transformation. Once the Word of God gets inside you, it does the transformation. When a seed is planted in good ground, it displaces the soil around it (changing the soil) and when it emerges from the ground, it changes the atmosphere around it.
Both you and your surroundings are changed by what God has placed in you!
The Gospel is Good News — actually it’s too-good-to-be-true-news! You don’t have to scare anyone into believing it — if you do, then it really isn’t good news, is it? And, since news is the recount of something that’s already happened, you don’t have to worry about telling people what’s going to happen because the important part is already done! So many folks try and complicate the Gospel with their take on prophecy and eschatology that they miss the simple truth that God Loves Them.
Which brings me to the last point…
The Gospel is the Personification of God’s Love and Grace. The Gospel is not theology; the Gospel is the person of Jesus Christ. When you are properly introduced to Jesus, you will want to get to know Him better. Many people don’t develop a true relationship with Jesus because of a bad introduction. The Gospel sets you free — if what you hear from a pulpit, television preacher, book, or other media doesn’t liberate you into a deeper relationship with God and a desire to fellowship with others, it ain’t the Gospel.
I want to leave you with a phonetic understanding of the word GOSPEL…
GO — the first two letters of the Gospel are G-O, Go! You will never be an effective disciple if you simply sit on the knowledge you have. Jesus said we are the light of the world and should not be hidden (Matthew 5:14-15). In Luke, chapters 9 and 10, Jesus commanded his disciples to Go. In fact, the Great Commission tells us to Go (Mark 16:15). An effective Gospel is a Gospel in motion!
SPE — the next three letters of the Gospel are the same that start off the word SPEAK. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. The True Gospel is never silent but it is never obnoxious. It is an agent of change not a weapon of submission! You don’t have to thump people in the head with Scripture — merely share it in love. The true Gospel speaks the truth in the midst of lies and protects and lifts up the downtrodden. When you speak God’s Word in faith into a situation, angels and demons treat it as if God, Himself, says it!
L — is for LOVE, LIFE, and LIBERTY. As I mentioned in the last point, you can speak death or life. When you speak LOVE you speak LIFE, because God is Love and God is the source of Life. When you speak the Gospel, you speak the Truth of Jesus — which He said would MAKE you free (John 8:32). I’ve said this before but it bears mentioning, here: being MADE free is superior to being SET free because being made free is the result of your POSITION in Christ because of the new birth, whereas being set free is merely a CONDITION, subject to change.
The Gospel is like a steering wheel — it is designed to help you navigate through life.
The Gospel is like a life preserver — it is designed to rescue you from drowning in the cares of life.
Both have two things in common: they are circular (never-ending) and each only work when you lay hold to them!
Now, that is so simple, you’d have to pay someone to help you misunderstand it…
© 2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)