I’m in the middle of reviewing a book published by a reputable Christian organization. The book is designed for women who are facing difficult circumstances, and the assumption is that many who read the book are not believers. In the opening chapters, the author begins to share the story of Christ’s life and death. She tells her readers that Christ came to bring healing to their hearts and fullness to their lives. He stands at the door and knocks, and all they have to do is let Him in. He’ll come in and fix everything.
Hm. Not the gospel I read in Scripture. The gospel I know tells me my heart is wicked and desperately needs a Savior (Romans 3:23). The gospel I know tells me life is difficult because we live in a fallen world with fallen people (Psalm 14:3). The gospel I know tells me I can look to the perfection of Christ as my justification before God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
I feel really sad that we so often sell Jesus short. Many Christians think if they tell people there’s this huge problem of sin and a need for repentance, no one will want to hear. So they conveniently leave out that part. But leaving out the facts of sin and wrath creates something other than the gospel. The word “gospel” means “good news.” It’s not good news if we don’t have something desperately wrong with us that needs removal. It’s not good news if all we need is to feel better about our lives. It’s only good news to those who are wicked. And since we’re all wicked, it’s good news for us all.
Now I’m not a fire and brimstone kind of girl. I want to shepherd people toward the gospel in a gracious and loving way, but that doesn’t mean I give them only half the facts. And it doesn’t mean I add anything to the truth so it sounds more attractive. The Bible would call this false teaching.
I hope you’re sharing the gospel, and I hope it’s the right one. May we be diligent to add and take away nothing from the perfect truth of salvation.