Practising Ministry 7: What Is the Gospel?

I’ve written a post about this before. The focus here is slightly different, because I’m reflecting specifically on ministry. But if you want a general overview of the Gospel, please click the link above.

In the last couple of posts, we have been reflecting on the problem humans face as we try and relate to God. The problem is sin. Sin is the rejection of God. We all reject God in some fashion. The most common form of rejection is selfishness: hard as we might try to live for others, at some stage we do something which is solely for our own benefit.

This rejection of God has led to us being separated from Him. God cannot abide sin, because he is the exact opposite: He is Holy.

People try and bridge the gap between us and God through a variety of means. Unfortunately, none of these work because they do not deal with the underlying problem: the sinfulness of humanity.

So…what is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the reality that God has bridged this gap on our behalf. He has taken away our sinfulness and has replaced it with righteousness. He achieved this through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This has bridges the gap between us and God and allows us to relate to Him once more.

In later posts, I will reflect more specifically on how God achieves our salvation through Jesus, and what that means for us. For now, what matters is this: the essence of the Gospel is that God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. The relationship is repaired, and people’s lives are transformed. 

This belief is the foundation of my entire ministry.

The purpose of my ministry, then, is to help people discover this reality for themselves, and then to allow it to change and shape their lives. That is not to say God needs me to work: God is powerful enough that He could spread the Gospel without any human help.

But, God is gracious enough to allow me to participate in His mission to share the Gospel with all the world. So, when I visit someone, for example, I am not somehow bringing God to them, or them to God: God has already been present to them and at work in their life. My role is to come alongside this person, and help them to see where and how God had been at work.

My ministry is about the Gospel. While it can be very tempting to make it about me: what I have to say, what I think, and so on. But it’s not about me: it’s about God, Christ and the Gospel. It’s as John the Baptist declares when he spends his time pointing towards Jesus:

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIVUK)

As I say, we will look at the specifics of the Gospel in future posts, as well as the impact on my ministry. But whatever I do in my ministry, it is based on this foundation: that the Gospel, the Good News I have to share with others, is that God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ; that only through the Gospel can people be in relationship to God and find their lives transformed; and that the Gospel is offered by God to all who would receive it, and my job as a Minister and a Christian is to help people see how God is at work in their lives.

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Christianity 101: What’s It All About?

This mini-series of posts will run alongside the two main series I’m currently writing. I wanted to do something short and snappy, and which gets to the heart of what Christianity is all about. I believe the Christian faith offers something unique, and I want to show how it can impact our lives and our world.

I’ve called this series “Christianity 101” because I want to explain what the Christian faith stands for, and show the difference it can make to people’s lives.

So; What’s It All About?
The answer to this question can be summed up as follows:

bridge-card

When God first made humans, we were meant to relate to Him as our creator. Unfortunately, humanity put its own selfish desires before our love of God, and we therefore rejected Him. This is called sin. Sin separates us from God. There is nothing we can do to bridge that gap.

This separation from God has caused all kinds of problems. The most serious is death, which was something we were never supposed to experience.

God did not want to leave things this way; so He came into our world as Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ life, we learn about the way we are supposed to live. Through Jesus’ death, the gap between us and God is closed, as Jesus took the punishment for our sin. Because Jesus took our punishment, God is able to justly forgive us. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we are promised new life beyond death, where we will live as God intended. This is the heart of the Christian faith: through Jesus, we are reconciled to God.

The way this impacts our world is varied, and I hope to explore some of these throughout this series. If there are things you want to know more about, or topics you think I should tackle in this short series, please get in touch: I’m always happy to receive ideas!

Whatever topics are explored in this series, they have their foundation in the fact that Christians believe that through Jesus human being are brought back to God, and are enabled to live in the way He intended all along. The following picture suggests some Bible passages, which could help you explore this further: