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Monday, November 24, 2014

What is the gospel?

In a great evangelistic campaign broadcast by satellite the speaker continually assured the worldwide audience that "Jesus wants to be your Best Friend.” Night after night this assurance was offered; but the implication was that He is not--not until you do something to make Him become your Best Friend, that is, you must first believe and obey.
There are sincere people who are alienated from God. They believe that He exists, but they have suffered so much pain in their lives, often from childhood beyond anything they did, good or bad, that they find it difficult to believe that He is already actually their Best Friend. They wish He were; but this idea has a resemblance to the carrot-on-a-stick allurement. Jesus will become your Best Friend IF, IF, you take the initiative in a change of your heart.
Is that the "evangel” that the Lord Jesus wants them to be told? Some say yes, or that wouldn't have been told night after night.
He has commanded us to "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel …” (Mark 16:15). But what is the gospel?
Scholars and theologians contend endlessly; the best answer is the simple words of Jesus: "God so loved the world that He gave ...” (John 3:16). That love came first; it was not dependent on any change of heart on the part of the sinner.
So much did He love that He gave His only Son; the deed already done. The giving on His part was for eternity; for each individual of the human race He "tasted death” (Heb. 2:9, Greek). In other words, He died everyone's "hell,” everyone's second death (Acts 2:27). Yours.
Do you want a better Best Friend than that?
Thank Him from the depths of your soul for what He already is; and let the revelation of His love lead you to consecrate yourself totally to Him.
--Robert J. Wieland

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