What is the Gospel Call?
There’s no other message that holds greater importance in this life than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The knowledge that this particular message was on the editorial calendar for our Delight in Doctrine series, and that I would be the one to get to write it, has filled my thoughts and has been a frequent topic in my prayers over the past few weeks.
As I thought about the gravity of what I was about to share, I felt a solemn weight that almost overwhelmed me. I wanted my words to be perfect.
And suddenly, the irony of the situation hit me: even as I was preparing to share the good news of the gospel, I was missing the heart of it. I failed to see correctly what my role in sharing this precious message would be.
My role is simply obedience to share the good news of the gospel. Of course, I should do my best, but my “best” has nothing to do with its effectiveness.
God’s people, sharing the gospel, is the means God has appointed to call people to salvation,
“How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” Romans 10:14 (NIV)
Yet it’s an act of God the Father that calls people into a saving faith. The response is voluntary, yes- and someone has to speak (or write) the message, but it’s God who works in people’s hearts in a way that brings about a saving faith.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John 16:44 (NIV)
You see the heart of the gospel is that we can’t do any of it on our own. We can’t save ourselves. Those who share the gospel don’t get credit for saving anyone. Those who respond in repentance and faith don’t get to boast. It’s God alone who does the saving, through the work of his son, Jesus.
“Those whom he predestined he called: and those whom he called, he also justified” Romans 8:30 (NIV)
So what exactly is the gospel call? It’s a call that goes out to ALL people (even those who don’t accept it).
What is the gospel message?
1. All people have sinned.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 (ESV)
2. The penalty for our sin is death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (ESV)
3. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV)
To illustrate: Let’s say you were pulled over for speeding an extra 50 mph. Let’s also say your Dad was a judge- and when you went to court, it was him that got assigned to your case.
Maybe you would be happy at first because you knew your Dad was kind and loving. But then you start to think about how he is a good judge- and always fair. You might start to get nervous because you know that what you did was wrong and deserving of punishment.
You go before the judge (your Dad) and admit that you’re guilty. The judge gives you a fine of $1k. You nod and turn to walk out of the courtroom, wondering how to pay the fine. But then, the judge takes off his robe, comes down to you, and gives the clerk a check for $1k on your behalf.
That’s what Jesus did for us. Only the price was far greater, so much, that we could never hope to repay it.
What is sin- and why does it lead to death?
This is important.
Sin is simply “missing the mark”. It’s not living up to the perfection required to be in the presence of a perfect and holy God. None of us live up to that standard.
Death is simply separation from God.
God, being holy, cannot be in the presence of that which is not holy. Sin separates us from God. And God, being just, cannot ignore sin. But God, who is love, sent his son Jesus, to earth, to pay the price we could not pay for our sin. When we repent and accept that gift of salvation, we are covered with the holiness of Christ. God sees us as holy. We can then, freely, come into his presence, never again to be separated from God.
A personal response of repentance and faith is necessary for salvation.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 (NIV)
These words are for YOU. They aren’t just for people long ago. The invitation stands. You can be assured that it’s personal. If you hear that call, please know that God the Father has a plan and a purpose for you.
You don’t have to earn your way into his favor. The only response that is required from you is to accept God’s forgiveness through his son Jesus and to turn away from your sin. That means you want to please him. God puts new desires into our hearts when we respond to his call.
It’s God who will give you the strength and ability to follow him. You will continue to miss the mark- but the difference now is that you are covered by the work of Jesus. The moment you accept Jesus as your Savior, you are a new person.
God sees you as he sees his Son- holy and pure. Your sins: past present, and future, are forgiven. It’s like a seed that is planted in the ground when you accept him as your Savior. The real you is still hidden- but at some point the fruit will begin to show. Other people may not see it yet, you may not even see it, but a new life is growing.
Here’s a promise you can count on:
When we place our trust in Jesus, turning away from our sin, our sins are forgiven. We will never again be separated from God (which means we have eternal life).
Why do I share this with you?
I’m not trying to score “brownie points” with God (or anyone else) by sharing the gospel. I already know that I have God’s love and approval. I could remain silent and still spend eternity with him. But I don’t want to remain silent. I love God and I know he loves you.
Because he loves you, so do I. Because he wants you to know him and his saving grace, so do I. It’s that simple.
A prayer of salvation:
Father God, I know I have fallen short. I have sinned. I’m separated from you and I don’t want to be. I believe that Jesus died and paid the price for my sins and that he rose again to be with you. I’m placing my trust in Jesus and asking for your forgiveness. I want to be made new, in him. I want to please you and follow you from this day on. Please place your Spirit in me and help me to do your will.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen,
If you prayed that prayer for the first time, welcome to the family! If I can pray for you or if you would like to talk, please feel free to send Melanie or myself a private message.
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenets of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
Linking up with Deb Wolf at #faithandfriends (Friday), #GraceandTruth (Friday), Holly Gerth at #coffeeforyourheart (Wednesday), Susanne Eller at #livefreeThursday, Carmen at #salt&light (Thursday), Kelly at #RaRalinkup (Tuesday), and Lori at #Momentsofhope (Monday)