Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to explore some different thoughts along the theme of the “gospel.” I’ve heard the term gospel all of my life as have most of us and I’m afraid that we just kind of take it for granted what we mean by it. The word itself just means “good news” but what is this “good news”? Some have tended to see it primarily as a list of principles to believe… tenets of faith, if you will. Thus when Paul talks about the gospel in 1 Cor. 15 and says that “it is by this gospel you are saved” he would be meaning that by believing these certain articles of faith you are saved. Others have viewed the gospel more in terms of obedience and see it as a list of commands or instructions that must be obeyed. I certainly respect their emphasis on the fact that just believing isn’t enough, we must also act on those beliefs… I’m just now sure that gets at it either. By that Paul would be saying that by obeying a certain list of commands we are saved… but wouldn’t that be salvation by works?
To me, the answer is so simple. Paul is pretty clear in that 1 Cor. 15 passage and even clearer in 2 Tim. 2:8 when he says, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel.” Paul didn’t understand “the gospel” to be a list of principles or commands! He understood the “good news” to be Jesus Christ risen from the dead! So the “gospel” is a man! Jesus Christ!
What implications does this view have towards evangelism, then? As we are commanded by Jesus himself to go out and preach this “gospel” (cf. Mark 16:15-ff) how does this change our attitudes, our mind-set and even our methodologies? Any thoughts? This is what I want to explore next Sunday.