The gospel is a rich, complete and compelling message. This update looks at one aspect of the gospel message. In understanding the gospel we have much for which to be thankful. We will be sharing other aspects of the gospel in due course.
GOSPEL – A Message of Hope
Our world could use some good news. It seems for most people that their hope is that we will “get through this” and things will get better. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Unfortunately, man is unaware that his path is being directed by an evil being who does not plan for things to get better. There is simply a growing sense of hopelessness because positive expectations are not being met.
God did not create man to live in a hopeless world. He created man to have a relationship with Him and to live life with purpose. The Bible records the many choices man has made which has led to a severing of that relationship with his Creator. Mankind in general now lives life without the knowledge of his intended purpose.
Jesus Christ came to the earth with a message. It was a message of hope as a witness against the cause of man’s hopelessness and to bring hope. It was a message filled with expectations that could be realized through the life of the One who brought the message – Christ. The Apostle Paul taught that if a person has faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that there is hope laid up for that person in heaven. Paul referred to this as “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:4-5). The gospel message is a message of hope – “the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23).
This hope is from God and directs our expectations towards Him. Paul considered himself to have been called to be an apostle to preach the Gospel of God. A reading of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome demonstrates how seriously he took that commission. He taught the Church from where their hope was to come. He detailed the sacrifice of Christ and showed how the members of the Church should take on that sacrifice as a personal responsibility – to surrender their lives to God and receive the power of the Holy Spirit. That power allows a person to bury the old man and put on the new. Through the forgiveness of sin man enters into an intense and personal relationship with God – a relationship that has promises for the future. “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now [hopelessness]. Not only that, but we also have firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body. For we are saved by this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:22-25).
Paul preached the gospel to the Church. It is a message to encourage the members of the body in their present relationship with God. Paul acknowledged that there is no hope in this world apart from a relationship with God. “… at that time you were without Christ … having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). The hopelessness experienced in this world is because man doesn’t know God’s intended purpose in the creation of man. Man is intended to have a relationship with God in this life and in a life to come. Again, it was Paul who spoke of the hope of the resurrection. “I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15).
The Apostle Paul was faithful to his calling to preach the gospel. He preached it to the Church as well as to anyone who would listen. “… in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior” (Titus 1:2-3).
The gospel message that Christ brought to mankind – the gospel of God – was a message of hope. It demonstrated God’s great love and desire for His creation. God desires a relationship with man whom He created in His image. The gospel preached to the Church was for the purpose of creating a spiritual body that would be a living example of that message. For through the Church Christ intends the message of the gospel to be a witness to all mankind. “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil … we preached to you the gospel of God … that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
The Church represents the current stage of God actively working out His plan to add children to His family. We are to be living examples of the gospel of God – a message of hope to a world struggling in hopelessness.