What Does the Gospel Mean to You?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16 – 17)
What a powerful passage! It has been the text of countless sermons, the encouragement to innumerable saints who continue to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the greatest treasure of all those who understand and have obeyed this gospel: i.e., the just who live by their faith!
The passage describes the gospel as God’s power to salvation. But what is the gospel? Paul, by inspiration, writes in 1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 4 the following: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The DEATH, BURIAL, and the RESURRECTION constitute the gospel, and this is emulated when souls are obedient to the gospel (Romans 6: 1- 6). We die to sin (i.e., put sin to death), are buried in baptism, and by the glory of God, just as Christ was, we rise to walk in newness of life! This obedience allows the Lord to add us to His church (Acts 2:47), grants us remission of sins (Acts 2:38), and the promise of eternal life (Acts 2:39; 1 John 2:25). That’s what the gospel means!
Notice as well in Paul’s statement to the Corinthians. “I preached unto you, you received, and in it you stand.” (vs. 1) Without preaching, souls won’t hear this gospel (Romans 10:14-15). Receiving it isn’t merely listening to it (i.e. hearing only – James 1:22 – 23), but rather believing its content without wavering! Faith, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), is required of us (Hebrews 11:6) and comes only by the hearing/receiving/believing of this saving power of God. (Romans 10:10). It is within this gospel we stand, i.e., find ourselves secure and unmoveable (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Further, Paul states, “by which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” Notice what the gospel means to us from this text. Salvation is not “membership in a social club.” Salvation is only in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10), and the only way into Christ is baptism (Galatians 3:27). To be saved requires us to “stay saved” which is better stated, “Be thou faithful unto death,” (Revelation 2:10), which includes adding to our faith, and being diligent to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:1 – 10). Notice Paul said we are to keep these things in memory. That requires diligence as well: diligence in study (2 Timothy 2:15), attendance (Hebrews 10:25), obedience in all things (Colossians 3:17). Otherwise, it is equated to believing in vain! Remember, even the devils believe … and tremble!
Therefore, the GOSPEL is much more than the words within the New Testament, much more than the life of Christ culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection. The gospel becomes the very life we live in the flesh by faith in the Son of God. (Compare Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3:1-17). Because of the gospel, remember, “the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) From the study of James 2, we learn faith without works is dead, being alone (James 2:20). Among the several works involved in living by faith/the gospel of Christ are various commandments that when obeyed, will take us away from sin, and cause us to be drawn closer to God. One passage that clearly explains this is Romans 8:6: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
What does the gospel mean to you? How seriously do you accept it, read it, learn it, obey it, live it? Should you consider it anything less than the power of God unto salvation, you have minimized its importance, and come dangerously close to treading under your feet the Son of God; you have come dangerously close to counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith you were sanctified as an unholy thing; you have come dangerously close to being despiteful to the Holy Spirit. (cf. Hebrews 10:29)
If the gospel means to you what it means to the God of heaven, you recognize there is nothing more powerful, more loving, more saving, more permanent, more promising, more glorious than that which was exacted in and through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Its proof came with the raising of Christ Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31), and cannot be denied! That, dear reader, is what the gospel needs to mean to every one of God’s children!
Do you love God enough to serve Him unto death?