I just flew through Greg Gilbert’s first book, What is the Gospel?, and loved it. It honestly challenged my articulation of the Gospel and what elements I keep as the main thing.
I have been convicted as of late that too much of what we do in the modern church is about maintaining our comfortable culture and sadly this has been at the detriment of the Gospel. And in the midst of this reality Gilbert’s 122 page book is a solid reminder and call back to the Gospel.
Gilbert has been a pastor at DC’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church and is assuming the pastorate at a church in the South soon. I think he would have been a great person to get coffee with while we were in DC but this will have to wait until he swings through Portland.
The book is clear and digestible outlining the elements of the Gospel as “God, man, Christ, response.” This is a recognition that God is amazing and has created the universe for his glory; man was brought on the scene and sinned leaving a wedge of pride between us and the creator; to restore this relationship, Christ sacrificed himself on the cross dying for our sin and defeating it in his resurrection (this is the key part); and we are called to repentance and faith in Christ as a response to the Cross.
We have spent entirely too much time contextualizing and shifting the Gospel to issues we think might be more comfortable for those around us but Gilbert slices through all that with words of truth that we all need to meditate on.
As I finished the book this morning one paragraph stuck me. I have noticed the trend that suggests we should simply follow Jesus’ teachings and nothing more, but I think this is a graven approach that discounts Christ’s deity and sacrifice on the cross. The Gospel calls people to repentance not friendly living…
The fact is, a person can be a self-professed “Jesus-follower” or “kingdom-life liver” and still be outside the kingdom. You can live like Jesus lived all you want, but unless you’ve come to the crucified King in repentance and faith, relying on him alone as the perfect sacrifice for your sin and your only hope for salvation, you’re neither a Christian nor a citizen of his kingdom.
The way to be included in Christ’s kingdom is to come to the king, not just hailing him as a great example who shows us a better way to live, but humbly trusting him as the crucified and risen Lord who alone can release you from the sentence of death. At the end of the day, the only way into the kingdom is through the blood of the King.
That section alone made the book worth the purchase for me and I live to share this Gospel so that others might come to a repentance and faith in Christ.
Gilbert works carefully through the elements of the Gospel and then gives us recommendations on how to respond to it and live it out.
How long has it been since you looked up from the earthly details of life and came face to face with the Grand Canyon of what God has done for us in the Gospel – his unfathomable grace in forgiving people who have rebelled against him, his breathtaking plan to send his Son to suffer and die in their place, to establish the throne of the resurrected Jesus over a kingdom of perfect righteousness, and to bring those who are saved and redeemed by his blood into a new heavens and new earth where sin and evil will be forever conquered!
Let us go and come face to face with this Gospel and glorify God by living it.