“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” —Romans 1:16
There’s an old joke that went something like this: A man went for an annual check-up with his doctor and went through all kinds of tests. The Dr. told him, “We’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good news: you don’t have cancer.”
“What’s the bad news?” the patient asks.
“The bad news is that we’re going to name a disease after you.”
The joke is a joke because it has an ironic punch line. Good news, then bad news.
The world today says that they don’t want bad news. Marketing strategies today are, for the most part, made up of only good news. “Have I got a deal for you!” “Hey, it’s a win-win situation!” “You’re asking, ‘what’s in it for me?’ and I’m going to tell you exactly what’s in it for you…” and so forth and so on. There’s never any bad news.
Evangelical Christianity in America today has rushed to adopt that in the past 20 years, and in the past decade especially. From the pulpit this is preached: “Let me tell you the good news!” …and there’s never any bad news. It’s just all good. In fact, many congregations throughout the United States today even boast that this is how they approach the gospel; that this is how they approach public worship; that market-driven techniques are the methodology they use to grow the mega-churches. But, folks, that is not the approach the Scriptures reveal concerning the gospel and its proclamation.
Gospel is a word that means “good news” and there’s a reason why it’s good news. Certainly, there is a benefit for the recipient of the good news; nevertheless, the good news revealed from the pages of Scripture comes by the revelation of the truth that there is some exceptionally bad news first. The bad news is what makes the good news so good… and both truths come by revelation; that is, it is revealed supernaturally by God’s Spirit through the proclamation of His Word. The Gospel presentation, the good news, is not the gospel unless the wrath of God is revealed against sin, and that God’s wrath against sin is dealt with sufficiently so that the sinner can stand justified before a holy God. If it does not contain the wrath of God, it is not the gospel. The central point of the gospel is the Cross of Jesus Christ, where God pours out His holy wrath upon His Son as a propitiation for sin. If you remove that, you…
DO… NOT… HAVE… THE… GOSPEL… PERIOD!
Do we bear witness against ourselves that we are ashamed of the Gospel because we do not want to offend anyone by preaching that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18)?
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