The Gospel is Powerful

22 09 2006

I have been thinking much here recently about the gospel and its power. There are so many facets of the gospel’s power, however, I have been focusing specifically on its power in regeneration, particularly in the realm of evangelism. This is partly because I am teaching a class on evangelism and have become increasingly impressed with the glorious power of God in the gospel.

It is helpful to remember the sinner’s state outside of Christ as being totally depraved, helplessly dead, spiritually toe-tagged, if you will. Ephesians 2 is a great place to see this picture:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Mankind is not afflicted with a case of the spiritual sniffles, but rather is completely and utterly spiritually dead, you may rightly say unresponsive to the things of God.

So what are you, the evangelist, to do? According to God, humanity is completely and helplessly dead (spiritually) and if this was not bad enough we do not want any help!! If your goal is the glory of God and the rebirth of sinners, then will spiritual chew tablets flavored to the tastes of our hearers be sufficient to make alive the dead? What is the remedy for such a miserable and hopeless plight?

In Romans one we read of Paul who is eager to preach (v.15) and not ashamed of (v.16) the gospel. The answer the question as to why Paul is not ashamed should likewise decrease our shame, fear of man, while also increasingly our resolve to evangelize.

Paul simply says that he is not ashamed because the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Do you see this? The gospel is the power of God. The gospel is wired with omnipotence. It is like a spiritual zip file waiting to explode. And when believers proclaim this message it comes bearing both divine authority (Matt. 28.19) and divine power (Rom. 1.16).

This would be a good time for Bible teachers to stop saying he gospel is like dynamite. Of course we have all heard someone say that since in the original Paul uses the word dunamis, where we of course get our word dynamite, so in the gospel we have dynamite-like power. No we don’t! Stop undervaluing the gospel!! Paul does not have firecrackers on his mind when he is writing this but rather the encapsulation of omnipotence exerted intensely on the frozen heart to explode with life giving joy, reception of divine truth, as well as love and submission to the Savior. The gospel is powerful. The gospel is divinely powerful.

And I love to remind my own heart as to what it is powerful to do: “for it is the power of God for salvation” The gospel brings salvation. The gospel is the exclusive means by which the universal problem of sin is remedied. But notice the particularity of the salvation, it is not for everyone, but only for “those who believe” (Rom. 1.16). Hence the strong exhortation to evangelize; people must believe in order to be saved.

The simple but complex message of Jesus brings salvation to sinners. In this message the sinner is humbled and God is exalted, and this is the way it should be.

If we really believe that the gospel is the power of God for salvation we probably would not mess with it. It is not wise to edit perfection; we have not been given proofreading writes by God to add or delete elements from his masterpiece of Christ exalting truth.

Christians are to simply be minimum wage table servers, taking the masterpiece from the award winning chef and bringing it to the tables. It would be just as absurd to edit the gospel as it would be for a waiter at a five star restaurant to sprinkle on some hot sauce, pull off some asparagus and dump some Splenda in the soup. We just need to faithful deliver the goods with reverent zeal remembering it is not us that converts but God and his means is the powerful gospel of Jesus.

Be impressed with Jesus and his gospel…God is!!

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