Paul encouraged the church at Colossae to “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard” (Col. 1:23). The saving gospel of Jesus Christ can never fail. It is unconquerable in every place, applicable to every heart, and brings hope for every believer.
The saving gospel of Christ is the only thing that can bring hope of heaven—hope for cleansing—hope of forgiveness—hope for wholeness. Trust in the saving gospel can change your life, as well as your eternity. There is no hope like the hope of the gospel.
However, a false gospel of good works instead of God’s grace, brings defeat instead of hope. In the region of Galatia, within 30 years of Christ’s sacrifice for sins and commission to proclaim the gospel, some people had come, preaching “a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6). It was a gospel of law-keeping instead of grace-receiving. In clear terms, Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
Paul defined the saving gospel of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15. He reminded them that he had proclaimed “the gospel” (verse 1), which was the good news that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (verses 3-4).
The early church preached this good news that God saves, forgives sins, and promises heaven, to everyone who repents and trusts Christ to save them. Whether he is a wicked thief on a cross, a religious Pharisee, or a Gentile jail-keeper, the gospel was the same: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Jesus commissioned His followers to go to the whole world, and proclaim this good news of the gospel to every person (Matt. 24:14: Mark 16:15). The Lord commanded His disciples to “be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The gospel—the good news that Jesus saves—is accompanied by God’s power. Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel—this good news that Jesus saves—is God’s power to save all who believe. The gospel itself is the very power of God.
It is for this reason that preaching, sharing and communicating the saving gospel should be the primary purpose of every church and the main message of every life! Paul said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 1:17). Because of it’s exalted place of importance, Paul said, “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:22-23).
The truth is that, if Christians become enamored by other things—if we aim for any other purpose than sharing the gospel—people around us will die without Christ. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord” (2 Cor. 4:3-5).
J. D. Greear, in “Above All,” wrote: “Apart from the gospel, our ingenious life change strategies will lack staying—and saving—power. Apart from the gospel our kindness to the poor will only make people comfortable for a while before they perish eternally. Apart from the gospel, the world we reshape through our politics will be every bit as bad as the one we are trying to reform. Apart from the gospel, self-help strategies will only lead us to pride (if we succeed) or despair (if we fail).”
However, the gospel is unconquerable. Though we may not see people come to faith in Christ as often as we would like, the saving gospel is reaching people everywhere.
Greear also wrote: “Last year more people became Christians than any year to date. More Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last fifteen years than in the entire thirteen hundred years since Islam’s conception. The global South has seen a remarkable increase in evangelical Christianity in the twenty-first century. People are being saved by the thousands in South America, Africa, and Asia. Even in the West, where the numbers of evangelicals are declining, we’re not witnessing the death of true Christianity but of cultural Christianity, which was never gospel Christianity to begin with. And in some of the most difficult places in the Western world, in some of our darkest corners, the church is growing. And thriving.
“We don’t need another Savior.
“We don’t need another focus.
“We don’t need a different power.
“There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“There is one source to which we turn for God’s power.
“His name is Jesus.”
With God’s blessing, let’s follow Paul’s example: “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4).