“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
The gospel is great news!
In original Greek text, the word “Euaggelion” does nothing but spell it out perfectly as a message that is so good, it’s almost too good to be true. And that’s no surprise at all seeing as the true gospel of Christ is all about God’s redeeming work of grace through Christ, in which we have no input at all… except the sins that made it necessary. Wow! Are you telling me all my sins as bad as they are, are forgiven and forgotten forever, and I don’t have to pay for them because someone already died in my place for them? That I am loved, accepted and approved by God because just because of this? Well, yes!
This is the reason why it is heartbreaking when the most important news, humanity’s saving grace is presented so poorly or wrongly. The effects can be just as damaging as if one didn’t even preach the gospel in the first place. Therefore, an integral part of effective evangelism is knowing what the gospel is not.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with spreading good news of provision to people that are living in some form of lack or the other but this is NOT the gospel. The gospel is not a message that must be marketed at all cost.
When we preach “Come to God and you will be rich” or “Give your life to Christ and you will have all you ever wanted”, we completely underrate the riches of God’s grace towards man for salvation. We are making people believe that if the gospel is not translated into something physical that gratifies their desires, then it is not valid. So not true. And that is not even adding the possibility that they are coming to God for the wrong reasons in the first place.
A person can only truly experience the joy of salvation when they know from the beginning that it is the expression of God’s love for them made perfect in his redemption plan. Jesus died to give people eternal life, he died for the forgiveness of sins, not to make people rich as regarding money but rich unto salvation.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:“
Clearly, the blessings that God has blessed us with are spiritual in nature. They are spiritual and they are life itself. This means that the purpose of the gospel is in no way rendered invalid if the recipient of salvation is physically poor… and continues to be.
This does not mean that God loves to see his children suffering from lack, we all know that we have a good Father, God, who provides what we need at each time. But we cannot afford to paint a picture of Jesus, who is the express image of God himself, to people who are lost and in need of salvation, as an instant card to financial prosperity or the gratification of our earthly desires – that’s not what salvation is.
If it were, then all the apostles – whose lives were invested to the death in the spread of the gospel that we may receive life – did not live life to the fullest. But that’s not true! None of them were rich and if they were, neither them nor the Holy Spirit deemed it worthy to be revealed in the scriptures, and that’s because it really doesn’t matter.
If it can be achieved without Jesus sacrifice, then that’s not what he came to die for. There have always been rich people on earth. And that makes sense because you don’t need Jesus to be rich, diligence and a couple of opportunities will do. If your message of the gospel cannot be effective in every single background and status that exists, then it’s not worth preaching.
The gospel of Christ isn’t only for the poor or rich. Jesus didn’t die for anyone’s financial needs, he died only for the forgiveness of sins. And as regarding these earthly things, we are expected to count it all as loss. For this alone – eternal redemption – is our access to eternal life. For this, he’s given us all that pertains to life and godliness, 2 Peter 1:3.
For this reason, it’s okay if we never blow, or if we are never regarded in this world as financial giants. All that matters is that we have enough to eat and give.
Serving God so that you will have these other things is still kinda the same thing as serving yourself first. If you will serve God, do it for the right reasons, out of love and commitment, and not for a payment plan. Do this knowing that your greatest treasures are in heaven.
God sees with an eternal perspective, he is not shortsighted like man who only sees now. Even though he has made provision for all our needs and asks that we present every burden to him in prayer; a lesser privileged believer is no less saved than a highly privileged one. Albeit, God has blessed us who are rich so that we can bless those who are in need, especially among the body of Christ. 2 Cor. 8:9 is all about this – giving.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
If it doesn’t give eternal life, then it is not the gospel. The riches spoken about in every place in the scriptures directly referring to Jesus, particularly the epistles, are only in regard to God’s abundant grace toward man for the redemption through his blood and forgiveness of sins. This is clearly seen in the scripture above.
The gospel is one thing, salvation to mankind by the finished work of Christ. What is this work? It is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary; the operation of God in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, all for the forgiveness of sins.
God does not seize to be good simply because you didn’t get something you really wanted. The power of the gospel to radically transform those who believe is something we fully embrace because it’s not expressed in mundane things such as financial wealth (for which we do not need Jesus to gain), but because it has taken us who were once dead and brought us to the perfect life.
In 1 Tim. 6:5, we are commanded to stay away from those who suppose that gain is godliness. This is how badly God wants us to dissociate ourselves from what is known as The Prosperity Gospel, which is the kind of “gospel” that portrays God or salvation as a means to financial gain.
In 1 Tim. 6:6, we see God’s definition of a life well lived, which is godliness with contentment. This is gain in the kingdom of God.
Lastly, we see the true definition of kingdom prosperity in God’s word written for us in 1 Timothy 6:
1 Timothy 6:17-19
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
The only way the gospel serves us is that it has given us eternal life and that by this grace, we are empowered to share this good news with as many as will listen. This so that they too will be saved. Asides this, it is us who serve the gospel and not the other way around.
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