This week Louisiana celebrated Mardi Gras. When I think of New Orleans and Bourbon Street I can almost smell Gumbo. Mmm. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water and forehead sweat. There are myriads of recipes for make a good gumbo. Some add unique ingredients because they like it spicy, others like it soupy, while others like it meaty. The gospel on the other hand has only one recipe. It is important to get the recipe for the gospel right. There are essential ingredients that make up the gospel and without them there is no gospel. Here are good questions to ask to make sure you have the right gospel:
Am I sure of the seriousness of my sin? [Romans 3:21-23] The doctrine of sin is serious stuff. Life and death hang in the balance depending on how you deal with this doctrine. We often have a low view of sin, though we sin it so often we struggle to accept that we are sinners. We become so familiar with sin that we come to accept it.
The Bible is realistic about my condition: I am rebellious to the core. Just ask my wife. I am selfish. I am gravitated toward sin more than obedience to God. My heart is utterly wicked. God does not want to just change my behavior, He wants to change me from the inside out. Lasting and permanent change comes from the heart, the hub and control center of the human soul [Proverbs 4:23].
Am I awestruck by the substitutionary atonement of Christ? [Romans 3:24-25] There is so much wrapped up this theological statement. The substitutionary atonement of Christ is the biblical truth that Jesus made the only sufficient sacrifice for sin to appease my sinful state. Jesus Christ and His work are the essence of hope. This hope is not in my theological knowledge or experience, but it is in the awesome bloodshed of my Savior [Galatians 2:20]. It is He that desires to rule in my heart this moment and forever [Ephesians 2:22-23].
Am I really aware of my need to repent of my sin? And am I aware of my need to follow through with real faith in Christ? [Romans 3:26; cf. Acts 26:20; Galatians 3:11] I put repentance and faith together because they really do go together. With all that God has done for me I cannot simply be passive. The gospel calls me to action. A gift so great doesn’t deserve just a “thank you,” it desires, “I can never repay you God, but I will do whatever you ask from now on and forever more.” The gospel not only affects the moment I commit my life to Christ, but also my walk with Him thereafter. The struggle of sin never ceases until I leave this sod, so I need His grace daily [Titus 2:11-13].
Without a submission of your spirit to the Scripture behind these questions, there is no gospel. The gospel is different than gumbo. The gospel is not just a mishmash of facts or a buffet of manufactured ideas, rather it is the life-transforming truth of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection that will forever change you. That is good news!
I have adapted this post from Is It Soup Yet?