Responding to the Gospel

By Not Known

As we have seen in recent weeks, the gospel is God’s message to us about his Son Jesus

Some of the messages we receive are‘for your information‘. That is, we don’t need to do anything in response to this message; we just need to know it. Other messages demand action by their very nature

The message about Jesus demands action. The Greek word for ‘gospel‘ is a compound of two words:good + news. But the gospel is not always good news. In fact, one Bible passage tells us that the gospel is a message announcing judgement (Rev. 14:6- 7). Judgement is not good news if you are being found guilty and being punished.

This brings us to the heart of the matter. The gospel is God's good news about the salvation he provides through Jesus Christ. It is 'good' because God does save, in a situation where we need saving and cannot save ourselves. But, whether the gospel is personal good news depends on us.

Consider the case of the Apostle Paul. He once dismissed the message about Jesus so strongly that he led a holy war against Christians. At that point, the gospel was a message of judgement against him. It was bad news. But then God changed him. Having responded positively to the gospel, Paul is now glad to introduce himself as a ‘slave‘ of Jesus (Rom 1: 1), through whom he has received grace and was sent to tell all people about Jesus (v5). Because of his response, the gospel was now personal good news for him.

What response makes the gospel personal good news? The word ‘faith' gets to the heart of the matter. We must quit trusting in nothing or trusting ourselves for our deepest need of peace with God. Instead we must trust Jesus and Jesus alone.

Faith is itself an act of obedience to God. Or to put it the other way, to not believe in Jesus is to disobey the gospel and deserve God’s punishment (e.g. 2 Th 1: 8; 1 Pe 4: 17). The obedience that leads us to put faith in Jesus is then the start of a new life of obedience to god, as we too become his slaves and do what he tells us

How have you responded to the message about Jesus; with obedience or disobedience? What is the gospel to you: good news or bad news?