For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
As Christians we know that we have an obligation to share the gospel, the good news. What is it? Try right now to articulate what the good news is.
Most of us will have to think about it for a couple of minutes and eventually will spit out a rambling statement which will probably mention Jesus, love, and wonderful plans. Some might throw in something about sin, repentance, and conversion. “Born again” will probably be mentioned in most answers.
But shouldn’t we be able to clearly and precisely articulate what’s so good about the Good News? I understand that a huge part of sharing the gospel is telling someone what Jesus did for me. It’s the sharing of a personal story. But shouldn’t we also be able to explain the “theology” behind it? Can our only response be “Come to church with me and you’ll find out.”
Think about this: If we can’t clearly articulate the good news, do we really understand it? Can we enjoy all the Christian life should be if we don’t clearly understand what the gospel is? If the basics of the good news doesn’t just flow from our lips, we have to be missing out on much that Jesus has to offer. We are probably also failing to participate in His plan as we should. So what is the Gospel?
You would think that we could all agree that the details of the good news are contained in scripture. However, Christians don’t always even completely agree on that. Some say the scriptures are fine, but you have to consider “tradition” or “human reason” when explaining the “good news.” Others will point out that the good news is “personal.” That it is different for different people. What about all that?
The term “gospel” is mentioned in various places in scripture. The clearest presentation of the good news is contained in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Pick up your bible and dive into Romans. Read it with the goal of being able to come away from your reading able to articulate exactly what the good news is. As you read, consider whether the words of Paul are sufficient or do we have to factor in tradition, reason or personal experience.
In the next few days I’ll share my thoughts on what Paul is saying. I hope they will be helpful.