The Gospel has often been presented as a one-time decision that grants you your “get-out-of-hell-free” card; as that prayer, you once prayed that equipped you with fire insurance for eternity. If that’s what we believe the Gospel is, we’ve missed God’s work of reconciliation in the here and now.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that the Gospel isn’t something we believe and accept once—it’s what we live by each day as followers of Jesus. We don’t graduate from the Gospel. The truth of the Gospel—that Jesus came, died, was raised back to life and through him, God is reconciling the whole world back to him—is what our very lives should be shaped around.
So, what should the Gospel be changing now?
It’s not uncommon for a business or a church to have a mission statement. This succinct message is meant to guide all of the activities that organization partakes in. When a new opportunity or even a problem arises, the organization can look back to its mission statement and determine whether or not that action conforms to the mission they’ve accepted. For believers, the Gospel has given us our mission: announcing Jesus’ victory to the world which sets us free from Satan and free for reconciliation with God and His people. Our acceptance of this good news is what motivates us to want to share it with those who are still in the darkness.
Our mission drives our priorities. Some people believe it’s their mission to make a lot of money, so they prioritize work over relationships or other activities. Another person might make it his mission to travel, so all of their priorities—how they spend their money, what job they work, and who they spend time with—will be centered around this goal of seeing the world. If our mission is to share the message of the Gospel, it should also change our priorities. Does how you’re spending evidence your goal to see God transforming people around the world? Do you think about how you can use your work to leverage the Gospel?
The Gospel also identifies our real enemy in the here and now. Our enemy is not some other political party, race, or religion. The church’s enemy is not non-believers, but the spiritual forces to which non-believers are enslaved. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our mission is to the world, not against it.
The Gospel isn’t something that we reserve for our eternity, but what drives us each and every day to share God’s good news with the world. As a church, we if don’t get these three things right, we’re going to miss out on what God wants to do in us and through us today.