Like Paul, I am “eager to preach the gospel” to the people God has called me to serve (see Romans 1:15). My eagerness stems from a conviction. I am convinced by God’s word through Paul that the gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (see Romans 1:16).
Earlier in my life and ministry, I’m afraid that when I read Romans 1:16 I only thought of the gospel in terms of conversion. But the more I read Paul, I realize that the gospel is all-encompassing because salvation is all-encompassing. Salvation has past, present, and future aspects. It involves justification, sanctification, and glorification.
So when Paul challenges Philippian believers to stand firm in the face of opposition, he calls them to “live in a manner worthy of the gospel” (see Philippians 1:27). When Paul challenges Peter’s legalistic behavior in Antioch, he accuses him of “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (see Galatians 2:14).
The point is, then, that the gospel is never something we outgrow. It’s at the core of Christian living. It’s at the core of what God is doing to save us – including the past, present, and future aspects of this great salvation. The answer to our struggles with greed, immorality, legalism, jealousy, hatred, and selfish ambition is the gospel. A sermon I heard last Sunday (I had scheduled a guest preacher!) from Philippians 2:1-13 was titled “The Challenge of the Incarnation.” Yes, in that passage, Paul uses one aspect of the gospel – namely the incarnation of Christ – as a model for Christian behavior.
Whatever challenges or problems we are facing in our churches, the solution takes us back to the gospel. That’s why I’m eager to preach the Holy Scriptures which present the gospel.
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