This summer, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on the need for our churches to be centered on the gospel. This resolution is worth pondering (and acting upon!), but the form of a resolution can cause one’s eyes to glaze over. Here is a different way of breaking down the concepts in the resolution. I’ve added the Scriptures, so you can spend some time meditating on the truths here.
We are, every one of us, sinners against God and, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, deserving of only condemnation.
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)
The gospel is the good news of salvation that reveals who Jesus is, what He has done, and why it matters.
- And he said to them, ”Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)
- 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. (Rom. 1:16)
- But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
- For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
Repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ brings believers into right standing with God through the blood and righteousness of Jesus.
- Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ”The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
- And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. (Rom. 4:5)
The power of the gospel transforms believers so that we are able to put sin to death and to pursue holiness.
- Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Rom. 6:8-22)
The hope of the gospel assures us of life beyond death through the promise of resurrection.
- Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Cor. 15:12)
- But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thess. 4:13-14)
The value of the gospel shows us the relative poverty of the love of money and the pursuit of worldly success.
- But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. (Acts 8:20-22)
The stewardship of the gospel has been entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus Christ in His Great Commission.
- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
- For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. (1 Corinthians 9:16-17)
The grace of God in the gospel grants salvation to anyone and everyone who believes, regardless of who the person is or what the person has done.
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no salvation.
- And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Any claim to personal self-righteousness or racial supremacy stands in contradiction to the gospel of free grace in Christ alone.
- I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal. 2:21)
- For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:27-28)
Our Response to Gospel Truth
May we reaffirm our commitment to the supremacy and centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our churches.
May our pastors keep the gospel foremost in every sermon they preach, so that the whole of Scripture and every aspect of life can be seen in the context of how every promise of God finds its “Yes” in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May our churches in preaching, teaching, and discipleship proclaim the gospel to unbelievers, showing them how to find peace with God, and to proclaim the gospel to believers, that through the renewing of our minds we might continually be transformed by the gospel.
May our churches display the gospel by transcending ethnic, racial, economic, and social barriers due to our unity in Christ.
May our churches celebrate the gospel through the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, teaching our congregations the joy of the gospel therein.
May we recommit ourselves to the glory of the gospel by greater faithfulness to the Great Commission both in personal witness and in sending more gospel workers to the unreached peoples of the world.
May our churches and individual believers study, identify, and act upon the lostness of their communities, the nation, and the world.
May each church support its pastor as he leads personally in ongoing Great Commission involvement, both locally and globally.
May we commit to speak to the outside world as those who are forgiven sinners, who have received mercy as a free gift, and not as those who are morally or ethically superior to anyone.
May we seek to live as those who have been rescued by the gospel, evidenced by forgiving our enemies, setting aside personal offenses, crucifying selfish pride, breaking down carnal divisions, and loving one another joyously, counting others as more important than ourselves.
May God pour out His Spirit to make us truly gospel-centered, gospel-saturated people whose lives and words point the world to our Lord Jesus Christ!