In the church where I grew up, it was not uncommon to hear pastors and leaders talk about “doing the gospel”, making it very clear that there was some action necessary where the Gospel is concerned.

This notion always struck me as very impressive and spiritual sounding, so much so that I never really bothered to ask the obvious question, What is the Gospel?

I look back now and realize that notions of “doing” the Gospel fail to really address what the Gospel is, and sadly lead many astray.  It is as though a valuable treasure has been replaced with a McDonald’s happy meal trinket and we’re not supposed to notice.

Men, do you know what the Gospel is?

Here is my explanation of the Gospel:

Your nature – that which comes from deep inside you and has been confirmed by multiple generations of your fathers and forefathers – is at war with the holiness that God demands of you.  You cannot take the first step toward God because you are simply not made that way.  You might think you are superior to others because you do some “good” things, but compared to what God requires of you, you fail miserably.  It is like thinking that you can swim faster than your child, but then realizing that the starting point of the race is Myrtle Beach and you are racing to Australia.

Because you cannot please God with your holiness, God stands ready to punish you.  We’re not talking about a spanking here; your sin is such that you fully deserve the WRATH of an ANGRY, righteous God.  The full righteous fury of God awaits the moment of your judgment.

But…

At the moment of your judgment, Jesus Christ steps forward and receives all the punishment you deserve.  He takes on your sin and receives the wrath of God, the wrath you earned by your sin.  In this Great Exchange, your sinfulness is atoned for by the only One that could bear it.

“Doing” the Gospel is nothing more than putting your faith in Jesus, and trusting that His completed work on the cross has made you right with God.  Any notion that you can do anything to merit God’s righteousness is spectacularly evil.  The work of the cross is finished, and Jesus did all the work.

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