For today, take some time to think through the different gospels that we have unfortunately taught as a collective church:
- The Forgiveness-Only Gospel: There’s a gospel that tell us to just agree to a specific set of religious facts and try to manage your sin rather than having your life transformed. Don’t really worry about true repentance (you know, actually turning away from sin) or obedience, or following Jesus.
- The Left Gospel: There’s a gospel that is based on being relevant. We don’t worry about the supernatural aspects of our faith, but rather focus on social justice – meeting people’s physical and immediate needs and neglect their spiritual need for a Savior and forgiveness of sins.
- The Prosperity Gospel: There’s a gospel that teaches that if you have enough faith, you will be guaranteed health and wealth. That God serves our agenda and entitles us to everything He has. We just need to believe it strong enough, and if we’re not getting, then believe harder.
- The Consumer Gospel: There’s a gospel that focuses on instant results, and making sure we get everything we want to out of church. It’s about making sure they can offer something for everyone in a no pressure setting, and the following part? We’ll get to that when you have time.
- The Right gospel: There’s a gospel that prioritizes correct doctrine, right living, and adherence to the rules. We must show ourselves as perfect outstanding people who would never think of sinning. We must separate ourselves from those who don’t follow the rules even though we are called to reach them.
Which ones have you believed? Which one have you shared? How does it fall short? What does it leave out? What does it add? Who does the gospel focus more on: you or Jesus?
Now take a look at this definition of the gospel:
- The Kingdom of God is here through Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Christ, our king, God’s One and only Son. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day, fulfilling the Scriptures. By His immeasurable love and grace He has lavished upon us, God the Father saves everyone who repents of their sin, believes the Gospel, are washed in baptism, and follow Jesus – no matter what the cost, without question, and without excuse through the power of the Holy Spirit. When King Jesus returns, everyone who follows Him will enter the eternal Kingdom of God.
I’m not saying this is a perfect definition, but how is this one different from the others? Who does this gospel focus more on: you or Jesus?
We’re trying to get back to the basics. We’re trying to understand the gospel message in a deeper and fuller way. Take some time to process through the definition you believe today, and see if it needs some tweaking.