“Taking the Gospel Seriously” by Brian Shank
[The following was written a couple of months ago by my friend and fellow member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, Brian Shank. Brian is also a student at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.]
How seriously do Christians take the gospel in our day? Even more, how seriously ought Christians to take the gospel in our day? In response to the first question, I think I can confidently say that many today love the message of the gospel, and earnestly study, propound, contend, and defend it at all costs. I am also convinced, however, that there are still many who have become too apathetic and careless with the precious good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is evident by the shallowness of doctrinal understanding, lack of recognizing how the gospel relates to every aspect of life, and the lack of recognizing those who hold false teachings, and a false gospel. Why is this? It is because professing Christians do not take the gospel as seriously as they ought, and as a result, many hardly read their Bibles, except maybe a verse or two in their daily devotions. Many are not willing to go deeper in their study of the Bible than what they hear in Sunday school and church. How can such a professing Christian say they love the Lord and His gospel?
How seriously ought Christians to take the gospel? The apostle Paul took the gospel so seriously that when he wrote to the church of Galatia to rebuke them for allowing some to teach among them who were teaching a distorted version of the gospel, he declared, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
Indeed, we can understand why the apostle Paul takes the gospel so seriously when we consider that it is through the preaching of the gospel, and that message alone, that God is pleased to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21). Therefore, after rebuking the Galatians, Paul writes, “For do I no persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). If we desire to be fully pleasing to the Lord, and see Him glorified in every area of our lives, then it ought to be our earnest desire to be faithful to Him and His gospel at all costs. Also, if we know anything of the tremendous grace given us in the Lord Jesus Christ, how He set us free from both the penalty and power of sin; if we have experienced the love of Christ poured out into our hearts, the forgiveness given us because Jesus paid the death penalty on our behalf, and imputed His righteousness to us so that we may be declared righteous in His sight, though we still sin, then ought not the love of Christ compel us to be diligent to rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), so as to implore others to be reconciled to God with answers and defenses, and a thorough knowledge of the Word of God in season and out (2 Peter 3:16, 2 Timothy 4:2)?
Is there any greater message to know and proclaim than the salvation of our souls through faith alone in Christ and His death and resurrection alone? Is there any greater message worth contending for? If not, then let’s be diligent to learn the glorious details of the gospel, how our jobs or school studies relate to it, and how to defend it.
Here is a brief summary of the gospel: If you are not a Christian, please read it. This is the core message of all of Scripture, and the most important thing for you to know. It will determine your relationship with God, and what will happen to you after you die.