We could write years and years’ worth of blog articles about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, also known as the gospel, because of the incredible news it is. But unfortunately, I’ve run into many Christians who believe the gospel is just a message that people who are not born again need to hear. They see the gospel as something similar to an invitation to a function. Once you get to the function, you no longer need the invitation. However, the gospel is not just an invitation.
On the contrary, it is the entire function. The gospel, as we know, is the good news that has brought about the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7) and removed us from the path to God’s wrath as a result (Romans 5:9). However, in this blog, we will see how the gospel also brings hope, motivates good works, subdues sin and overcomes negative thoughts.
Paul summarises the gospel excellently: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). New Testament writers apply this gospel message in various ways for their audience to read. One way is to arouse hope and praise in their audience (Romans 5:1-5, Jude 24-25). Carefully considering all that Jesus has done for us through his work erupts hope in us even when we are going through the most challenging circumstances. The apostle Peter exhorts us to do this in 1 Peter 1:3-6. He asks Christians to rejoice even though there is grief from the severe persecution of his audience from Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1-2). We must also remind ourselves of our eternal hope so that no matter how bad things get, we remember that our eternal home is secure (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Motivates Good Works
We’ve been saved by grace according to the gospel and not because of any good works we have done (Ephesians 2:8-9). For this reason, understanding what Christ did for us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, should motivate us to do good works (Titus 2:11-13, 2 Peter 1:3-4). Therefore, we joyfully do the good works God had prepared for us beforehand in obedience to Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We may wonder, especially as young believers, if we will continue obeying Christ when the challenging times come. Be encouraged. The power of the gospel will duly sustain you even during trials (1 Peter 2:19-25, Hebrews 12:1-2).
Through the gospel, we are able to have a right fear of God (1 Peter 1:17-19) and live righteously (1 Peter 2:24, Titus 2:11-14) so that we will not want to compromise our love for Christ (John 14:15). Whenever we feel tempted to live in disobedience, we should be quick to preach the gospel to ourselves and remember what Christ did for us. We then trust God for strength to persevere in obedience through our good works (1 Corinthians 15:58), even unto the glory of God’s name (Matthew 5:16).
Sin is a great enemy that all Christians struggle with. Daily, we face temptations of every kind. Therefore, how do we fight the temptation to sin? We begin by reminding ourselves that we have all we need in Jesus Christ to overcome temptation (Romans 6:1-4, 2 Peter 1:3-4). Memorising verses like 1 John 3:4-10, Romans 13:11-14, and Hebrews 12:1-2 will equip us to say no to sin when temptations overwhelm us.
In addition to memorising helpful verses, we can remind ourselves of who we are in God’s eyes. We shouldn’t forget that in Christ we’re justified (Romans 4:25, 5:9), ransomed (Mark 10:45), redeemed (1 Peter 1:18-19), reconciled (Colossians 1:22), saints (Hebrews 10:10-14, 13:12), and pure (Titus 2:11-14). The apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians of their gospel identity in 1 Corinthians 6:20. He says that they were “bought with a price”, meaning they were ransomed (to buy an enslaved person and set them free). The blood of Jesus is the price that was paid for Christians to be ransomed from being enslaved by sin to a life of righteousness (Romans 6:18). With this gospel identity in place, we understand why Paul says that we’re to flee from sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:18. This is because we have been rescued to live a life empowered to say no to sin, and this comes through the gospel. We see Paul do the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 saying that it’s God’s will that we are sanctified and abstain from sexual immorality (Hebrews 10:10-14, 13:12). Since we’re made saints through the gospel, we’re empowered to be obedient to Jesus (1 Peter 1:1-2). Recalling who Jesus has made us should bring a holy joy in our lives (Philippians 4:4), which should, by God’s grace, overflow to strengthen our zeal to fight off the lie that there is greater joy in sinning than in obeying the Lord.
Overcomes Negative Thoughts
Many of us struggle with negative thoughts and are easily driven to despair. However, focusing on the gospel can empower us to think more positively. For example, Romans 8:31-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Also, Romans 8:1 affirms that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. These gospel truths show us that we’re secure in Jesus no matter what happens to us. Therefore, upon receiving the gospel in faith and living obediently, negative thoughts can be well matched with joyful thoughts of the gospel.
Oh, what excellent news the gospel is.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:1–5.
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