Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Previous · Home · Next

Gospel Distractions


There are many things the gospel is not. That needs repeating now, more than ever, as the issue is being confused daily by many who ought to know better. The gospel is one simple message. Everything else is a distraction.

image

In the opening words of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he wrote, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (v. 17). Just a few verses later, he wrote, “We preach Christ crucified” (v. 23). Then a paragraph or two after that, he wrote again, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (2:2).

Thus Paul neatly summarized the gist of the gospel: it is a declaration about the atoning work of Christ.

In the preaching of Christ and the apostles, the gospel was always punctuated by a clarion call to repentant faith. But it is not merely a summons to good behavior. It’s not a liturgy of religious ceremonies and sacraments. It’s not a plea for self-esteem and human dignity. It’s not a manifesto for culture warriors or a rallying cry for political zealots. It’s not a mandate for earthly dominion. It’s not a sophisticated moral philosophy seeking to win admiration and approval from the world’s intellectual elite, or a lecture about the evils of cultural and racial division. It’s not an appeal for “social justice.” It’s not a dissertation on gender issues or a prescription for “redeeming culture.” It’s not the kind of naive, indiscriminate congeniality that is content to sing “Kumbaya” to the rest of the world.

Within the past half decade I have seen every one of those ideas touted as “the gospel” in various books, blogs, and sermons. They are all deviations or distractions from the true gospel as proclaimed by Paul.

The cross of Jesus Christ is the sum and the focus of the gospel according to Paul: “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). And in Pauline theology, the cross is a symbol of atonement. “Christ crucified” is a message about redemption for sinners.

How vital is that truth, and how crucial for the messenger to stay on point? To make the gospel about anything else is to depart from biblical Christianity. Paul’s teaching is not the least bit ambiguous about this. It’s the very definition of what he meant when he spoke of “my gospel.” Quite simply, the gospel is good news for fallen humanity regarding how sins are atoned for, how sinners are forgiven, and how believers are made right with God.

—John MacArthur, The Gospel according to Paul (Thomas Nelson, 2017), 75–76.



Posted 2018·07·03 by David Kjos
Share this post: Buffer
Email Print
Posted in: “Social Justice” · John MacArthur · The Gospel according to Paul

← Previous · Home · Next →



Who Is Jesus?


The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian


Norma Normata
What I Believe


Westminster Bookstore


Comments on this post are closed. If you have a question or comment concerning this post, feel free to email me.