April 12, 2017
Romans 1:16, 17
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The gospel is likened to “…a light that shines in a dark place…” in II Peter 1:19 (see also Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 5:14-16; II Timothy 1:10). And Paul uses this theme in II Corinthians 4:3, 4, and 6 concerning the work of Satan verses the work of God:
…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds
the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gos-
pel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should shine on them….
For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ.
After all, Jesus Himself said in John 8:12 and 9:5, “…I am the light of the world.” (See also John 1:4, 5; I Peter 2:9; I John 1:5-7). So light goes with the gospel, and the gospel is the ‘good news’ about Jesus Christ – Gospel Light!
But let’s take a sharp left turn here! There are a lot of commercials these days (and for the past 40 years) praising the benefits of light beer!
• Miller Light – “Everything you always wanted in a beer. And less….Tastes great, less filling.”
• Coors Light – “The Coldest Tasting Beer In The World….It won’t slow you down.”
• Bud Light – “Fresh. Smooth. Real. It’s all here.”
• Amstel Light – “The beer drinker’s light beer.”
You get the idea. But let’s take this theme of ‘light’ as it is linked to beer and apply it to the good news of Jesus Christ – Gospel Light! We will start with the ‘heavy’ brand of the gospel, the kind that Paul lifts up in Romans 1:16 and 17:
…I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God
to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the
Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
The apostle further defines what he means by the gospel in I Corinthians 15:1 through 4 (with Romans 10:9):
…I declare to you the gospel…by which…you are saved…Christ died for
our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that
He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures….if you confess
with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
He does not water it down, nor does he revise the ingredients to make it more palatable to the populace! Some preachers do. I won’t focus on personalities, but I will show how the gospel is often turned into Gospel Light!
• Some say, “The gospel is just too bloody, too gory!” So Jesus is presented without an emphasis on His suffering and death! But what does the Bible say?
✞ Hebrews 9:22 – “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sin].”
✞ I Peter 1:18, 19 (God’s Word to the Nations) – “Realize that you weren’t set free from the worthless life handed down to you from your ancestors by a payment of silver or gold which can be destroyed. Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb with no defects or imperfections.”
✞ I John 1:7 – “…if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
✞ Revelation 1:5 (Contemporary English Version) – “Christ loves us, and by His blood He set us free from our sins.”
Don’t leave out the blood!
• One complaint about Christianity is this: “It is way too restrictive to insist that there is only one way to God and heaven. All you have to do is sincerely follow your religion.”
✞ John 14:6 – “Jesus said…‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
✞ Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
✞ I Timothy 2:5 – “…there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus….”
Emphasize the ‘One and Only Way’ of Christianity!
• Many will say, “But I am a good person! Humanity has its ills, but basically mankind isn’t so bad!”
✞ Proverbs 20:9 – “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin’? ”
✞ Ecclesiastes 7:20 (International Standard Version) – “…there is not a single righteous man on earth who practices good and does not sin.”
✞ Isaiah 64:6 (Easy-to-Read Version) – “We are all dirty with sin. Even our good works are not pure. They are like bloodstained rags. We are all like dead leaves. Our sins have carried us away like wind.”
✞ Romans 3:10 through 12 (quoting Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-3) – “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.’ ”
People can be saved from sin only when they
realize they are sinners!
I think you can see that the traditional old gospel is different than Gospel Light! Jesus told His followers in John 12:32, “…if I am lifted up from the earth…I…will draw all people to Myself.” He was lifted up on the cross to die for our sins! All need Him, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). He lives again to receive all who come to Him believing it was for them – for me! But we must give people the full gospel – not Gospel Light! As Paul said in our featured Scripture: “…for it [the gospel in its fulness] is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). Don’t try to change the recipe to make Gospel Light!