“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
- Romans 1:16
We live in an age where the true meaning of the gospel is being confused with any number of “feel-good” approaches to Christianity. Many simply think that Christianity is a campaign to be nice to people and “love your neighbor,” with out any real commitment to being a disciple of Christ and all of his teachings. Some reduce Christianity to a code of social values, ethics, and morality. Still others want to fuse Christianity with a certain political point of view, both to the left and to the right. The list goes on an on as many well meaning people lose the essence of the gospel in a sea of society's ever slipping and sliding meaning of Christianity.
The gospel is not “just what we think it is.” Through the scriptures, the Holy Spirit speaks, teaches, and explains the meaning of the gospel. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who, by faith, believes in Jesus Christ and the saving work he accomplished for us through his death, burial, and resurrection. For those of us who believe that Jesus died for our sins and that he was raised to life so that we might become right with God, God credits us with righteousness (Romans 4:24-25).
Certainly, the gospel has implications for living. Certainly, as a response to the gospel we are called to live in a new kind of life-one that turns toward love and concern for one another and turns away from immorality, anger, greed, and other manifestations of a fleshly life. Important as these life changes are, these life changes are not the gospel. To simply love one's neighbor without the gospel does not bring about salvation. To merely turn away from immorality or anger does not, in and of itself, bring about salvation. Only the gospel has the power to save!
In a complex world of religious thoughts, let us return to the simplicity of the gospel: the power of God to save all who believe!