More and more I find myself needing to explain what I believe and why. This is my attempt.
I hope that everyone who reads this is passionate about the Gospel: The good news of our Lord and our faith in Christ’s redeeming power. Can you explain it to others? It is so practical; you can see the need for it immediately when you talk to people in any detail.
The Bible teaches that people are in rebellion against God. In our “natural” state, we want to seek our own happiness from rational constraints, moral constraints, judgments and feelings of shame. We want to ignore what other people think of us (unless they agree), and this goes double for the God of the universe. I believe this is disappointing to God, since He is the one who gives us so many blessings.
It is proper to recognize and respect God in our decision-making, even if our pride may be offended by God’s greatness. Instead of respecting God, some people attribute their blessings to blind luck. We are tempted to refuse to acknowledge God in our decision-making, and not just in moral issues, but in everything we do. This is astonishing ingratitude, and for this we deserve to be punished.
However, God has given us a way to be reconciled with Him, by allowing his own Son to be punished in our place. This punishment of Jesus pays the debt that we owe to God for our rebellion against him. If we acknowledge this sacrifice by Jesus, and put him in place as our leader and mentor, then God will forgive us and we will be reconciled with Him. And so, a relationship with God begins and will last forever. That is the Gospel.
I think it’s very important to understand the Gospel, and nothing makes it clearer than when you get to know those who don’t believe in Christ and hear their reasons for not looking into whether God exists. Ask them what they think life is really about and what motivates them, and see where God is in their lives. I think we get confused by those who don’t believe in Christ because they can sometimes be very nice to other people. The real standard is whether people recognize Him in their own deeds and actions and acknowledge God as he really is.
The greatest way to explain the Gospel to others is to live it, and tell others how following Jesus has changed your life. Actions speak louder to than words.
Dave Lockley is a lifelong Methodist who has attended Broomfield UMC for the past 8 years, with his wife Jamey and children Eddie and Anabella. He has degrees in History and Education from CU Boulder and is a teacher, for the Adams 12 School District. At BUMC, he teaches classes and small groups studies on Christian History and the Bible. You can contact him at David.Lockley@colorado.edu.