Should We Live The Gospel? Answered by Jon Moffitt
Hi, this is Jon, and I’m answering Rick’s question today. He’s asking, “Do we live the gospel or do we do the gospel?”
We hear preachers who will tell us to go out this week and “live the gospel” or “do the gospel,” and it seems like maybe we’re splitting hairs. Is this really an important question? It’s actually a really important question because what we end up doing is we end up confusing the commands of the Bible or the law with the message of the gospel or the good news.
So let’s be clear, the gospel is something you believe and something you share because it’s news. It’s information. It’s reporting what’s already been done. It’s not telling you what you must do. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ obeyed the law on your behalf, and then paid for your disobedience to the law, and now is offering this restitution between you and the Father by faith. So if you believe this news that’s coming to you, that Christ actually accomplished this, he earned for you righteousness, he paid for your sin, now this can be yours, you can be adopted by God through faith alone. That’s the message.
You don’t do that message. There’s nothing to do. It’s already been done. There’s no command in the gospel for you to obey other than, do you believe this to be true? Because then you can have this as a gift. You can receive the gift of salvation because this message, the gospel, is true.
In the Bible, we do have laws, and those laws are, “do this or don’t do this,” and if you do not obey them, you are then guilty and will be held accountable for that. That’s a law. The laws are always, “this is what must be done or not be done,” and if you don’t do them, you shall be held accountable for them. The gospel is always, “this is what’s been done, this is what’s been accomplished, there’s nothing left to do.” This is what makes it good news. There’s nothing left for you to do, all you need to do is believe it.
So when someone says “do the gospel,” they’re actually mixing the law and the gospel because there’s nothing left to be done. This is why this is important. We must preach the clarity and the purity of the gospel: Christ’s finished work on our behalf. He earned obedience for us. He paid for our disobedience. It’s ours by grace because of God’s mercy. He’s not giving us what we deserve. We are receiving that which we don’t deserve. That’s the message. We preach it. We herald it. We study it. We give it. We share it. Then, in turn, because we are God’s children and we are now in this new adopted relationship, he then tells his children, through Christ, the two commands that he has for them: love God and love your neighbor.
We then, because we believe the gospel and because it’s over us, as far as Christ’s blood, obey those commands, but we do not obey the gospel itself. We do not live the gospel. We do not do the gospel. It’s a message that is received. We hear it. We see it in the Lord’s table. We see it in baptism. We hear it out of the word when it’s preached on Sundays. It’s what empowers us. It’s what strengthens us. It’s what gives us hope. It is not something that we do.
Hopefully, that was helpful and encouraging. Please keep sending in your questions and we’ll see you next week.