If you’re on social media (particularly Reformed social media), you’ve seen the pleas to redirect or focus from the mayhem around us and to preach the Gospel. You’ve heard respected pastors like John MacArthur insist that the Gospel is the only real answer to the various problems that have torn Western society apart in just a few short months.
Perhaps you smirk a little when someone says that the Gospel answers the issues that have crippled our nation. COVID-19, racism, police brutality, LBGTQ issues, abortion and the 2020 election are all extremely important. Regardless of your political beliefs, you may feel the urgency of these matters. So the cries to keep the spotlight on the Gospel may seem flimsy. Some may even consider it as an avoidance tactic.
To such a point, may I respectfully suggest that all these matters actually stem from a neglect — if not a rejection — of the Gospel? If anything, the craziness of 2020 clearly demonstrates our desperate need for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The foundational plank of the Gospel teaches the sinfulness of all humans. The left can hold up the murder of George Floyd as an example of that sinfulness. They can bring up the things that President Trump does wrong, and I’ll agree with some of their criticisms. The right can point to widespread abortion (mostly of black babies, by the way) and the lawlessness in the streets. And each side believes government has mishandled the pandemic. We just disagree on how it should have been handled.
And anyone with a Twitter account knows the nastiness that comes from people’s keyboards. Very few people have used Twitter regularly without getting sucked in to vicious arguments and typing things unbecoming to a child of God. I’ve certainly failed to be a flawless representative of the Lord in some of my tweets.
Plainly, people are wicked.
I blog a lot about the inherent sinfulness in every human being. I do so because understanding human sinfulness is essential before I can explain why we need Jesus as a Savior.
Jesus Himself declared that only those who acknowledge their spiritual sickness can receive salvation.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ~~Mark 2:15-17 (ESV)
In reality, of course, the scribes of the Pharisees were every bit as sinful as the low lifes that shared the table with Jesus. But they couldn’t discern the fact that they needed salvation.
So it goes with us. We like hearing that God loves us, just as long as we can dig up reasons that He should love us. We imagine, for instance, that He looked down the corridors of time and chose us because He knew we would choose Him. He saw our potential to shine for Him. Yep, He got a great bargain when He purchased us with His blood!
The Gospel centers on Christ and what He did on the cross. He indeed did take the full wrath of God for everyone who believes in Him. His precious blood paid the price for our sins — past, present and future. The Father raised Him from the dead as evidence that He accepted His sacrifice, and as a promise that He will raise us on the last day.
His Holy Spirit enables us to believe in Him, and also to turn from sin and live in holiness. He commands us to believe and repent even as He furnishes us with the gifts of faith and repentance.
As we see the turmoil of 2020, we understand that the sinfulness we see manifested in it can be addressed only through the shed blood paid of Jesus Christ. Declaring the Good News of Jesus won’t convince everyone to lay aside their sin and live righteous lives, but it’s the answer nonetheless.
It’s the answer that Christians must proclaim.