As I was reading John MacArthur’s book “Ashamed of the Gospel” I came across a thought that really jumped of the page at me. It is a thought that puts the Gospel into a proper perspective and is something that I think is important to dwell on.
“When we speak of ‘the gospel’ we tend to think of an evangelistic message – and surely the gospel is that. But it is not only a four-or five-point outline of salvation truths. The gospel – in the sense Paul and the apostles employed the word – includes all the revealed truth about Christ. It does not stop at the point of conversion and justification by faith, but embraces every other aspect of salvation, from sanctification to glorification. The gospel’s significance therefore does not end the moment the new birth occurs; it applies to the entire Christian experience. And when Paul and the other New Testament writers spoke of ‘preaching the gospel,’ they were not talking about preaching only to unbelievers.”
~ John MacArthur ~
What this statement brings into focus is that the Gospel is not an isolated event, it is a journey. You see, it’s not just good news for the lost, it is good news for the saved. Let me put it another way. For the lost the Gospel is a message of hope. However, for the saved it is a revelation that is to be lived within. Thus, it is a topic that should be talked about every time the church is together. In fact, it is a topic that should be meditated upon by each and every Christian every single day.
There are SO many ways in which we can dwell on just how wonderful the Gospel is. However, as I have thought about it over the last couple of days I have meditated on it in terms of six of it’s most basic elements:
- Regeneration – In this stage of the salvation process our eyes are opened, by the Holy Spirit, to the sinful condition that we are enslaved to. It is only upon this realization that we are able to become aware of our desperate need for God. This is something that we are born completely blind too. It is a spiritual awakening. Thus, it is completely a work of grace.
- Conversion – Once we are awakened to our desperate need for a Savior we are able to to make our first step. (“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24) Yes, our first step is a step towards Jesus, as it is He that has died to pay the price for our sinful ways. It is a moment in which we admit our need for the salvation, which Jesus provides, and commit our lives to Him.
- Justification – The bad news is that each and every one of us is born into sin and stand guilty before a Holy God. The good news is that once we become conscious of our need for Jesus and commit our lives to Him we are declared not guilty. It is in that moment that our the Almighty God pardons every one of our sins.
- Adoption – The purpose of justification is to put us back in right standing before God. Yet, salvation is about much more than being pardoned of sins. In the beginning mankind was created to be in fellowship with our Heavenly Father. Yet, after the fall that fellowship was broken. Justification paves the way for renewed fellowship with Him. That is great news! It gets even better though. The Bible tells us that in the moment that we are justified we are adopted into His family. I really believe adoption is a part of salvation that many Christians have not fully thought through.
- Sanctification – Along with adoption, sanctification is an element of the Gospel that is quite frequently overlooked. I use the word element because it is not a step, it is a process. It is a process in which the Holy Spirit continues to make us more and more like Christ every day. It is a transfromation. It is a transformation that will never be completed as long as we are on earth.
- Glorification – While sanctification is a continual process that takes place throughout our life hear on earth, glorification is our destination. You see it is only when we are taken before the throne of our Heavenly Father that we will be brought into a perfected state. A state that is in complete peace with God. At this point there will be no more sin in or around us and we will live in a state of worship before the Lord Almighty for the rest of eternity!
I will leave you with just a few thoughts for further meditation.
- The Gospel is renewed fellowship with God.
- The Gospel is not earned in any way.
- Thus, the Gospel is an act of grace.
- The Gospel offers a doorway to peace with God.
- The Gospel is also a transformational process that makes us more and more like our Savior every day.
- The Gospel is what the church is founded on.
- The Gospel is Jesus.