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Do you know the Gospel?

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If you ask someone, any typical person, what they think the Gospel is or perhaps to describe it in their own words, you might get a variety of answers. Some people might provide you with an answer that is untethered from the truth of Scripture; an answer like “The Gospel, to me, means that all people are entitled to a good life filled with material wealth.” You also might get an answer that sounds more like “I don’t really know what the Gospel means to me,” or “The Gospel is irrelevant to my life.” The answer that people give to the question: What is the Gospel to me? is less important than what the truth of the Gospel means in the Bible and what God says the Gospel is.

When people think of Scripture that exemplifies the Gospel, they think of John 3:16 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

This foundational verse of the Gospel and Christianity is put on t-shirts and other Christ-themed merchandise as a universally accepted and essential verse that concisely gives the essence of what Jesus did for us: He died for our sins so that we would believe in Him and spend eternity with Him. This one verse describes a process that, without the help of God Himself, no one would be able to understand; so, I don’t blame people who have trouble fully grasping the purpose and impact of the Gospel when they first hear about it.

What some people don’t realize is that Jesus didn’t die for us to live comfortable and wealthy lives that are free from health problems and pain. God died for us in order to forgive us our sins so that we can have a relationship with him and glorify Him through that relationship.

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Anyone who is willing to tell you that the Gospel is merely for your own glory is lying to you. We were created for the glory of God, not for our own glory, and our relationship with God is not meant to be for the purpose of enhancing our pleasures in this worldly existence. Christ died for us in order to make us right with Him so that we could live our lives ultimately for His glory and purpose. Created things, typically, do not get to choose what their purpose is.

If I was writing a mystery novel, it would be incredibly strange if all of a sudden, the novel, under its own autonomous power, wanted to become a science fiction novel. That wouldn’t make any sense and would go completely against the notion and purpose of the creator wanting to write his own novel.

The beautiful thing, though, is that while we are under God’s complete authority over our lives, He does give us purpose to fulfill His will in a variety of ways. A writer who feels God’s calling to write can do so through fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or other forms with God’s call for them to write being the same call.

We need to remember that even though Christ died for us in order to save us for His glory, He loves us and does want us to live lives that are according to His good purpose as defined by Him in the Bible. We should think of verses like Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV): “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The “welfare” or in other translations “good” looks different for many people. Due to the fact that we live in a fallen world, people (including believers) do suffer. The ultimate good and purpose of our lives does not end in this world, however. The ultimate good in our lives will culminate in Christ’s return and our union with Him in Heaven. That is the true purpose and meaning of the Gospel in our lives.

Cody Strawser is a writer from Ohio who seeks to help spread the Gospel and fulfill the Great Commission through writing. 

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