We need to see the difference between the Gospel and Postmodernism. Reformation will attack this worldview that we have in the West and bring us back to the simplicity of the Gospel of our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:14 “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
Another aspect of reformation that we need to consider is what we call The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that reformation will bring us back to the true gospel and what it can do for anyone who puts their faith in the gospel. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
Do we, like Paul, believe that this gospel is like dynamite? Do we believe that it can enter into a man’s heart and life and change him or her? Or do we believe that something ‘else’ is needed to bring about the change in a person? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
It seems that a new gospel has crept into the church and is being preached today. A gospel where Jesus does all of the dying; a gospel where there is no sacrifice on our part, no giving up, no dying to the self-life; basically – a gospel where the life of Jesus is absent.
I am reminded of the passage of Scripture when Jesus was 12 years of age and He went with his parents to the temple in Jerusalem. After two days and on their way back they thought that Jesus was with them, but He wasn’t. He was back in the temple doing His Father’s business. (Luke 2: 41-49) In the same way there seems to be a gospel preached today where Jesus is not really present with us.
The gospel that Paul was talking about in 1 & 2 Timothy was a radical gospel. That gospel called a man or woman to come and die to themselves and to the world. They realized like Paul that this gospel delivered them from their self-life. 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
When the gospel came into a man’s life he realized several things:
- That he was not his own; he had been bought with a price. 1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ.”
- That there was a new Lord or Master in his life. Romans 14:9 “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” Self who had been king has now been replaced by a new King, King Jesus.
- That there was a new beginning and direction in his life. “He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
- That this gospel was ‘free,’ but not cheap. It cost God everything. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It was THIS gospel that went out and changed the course of history in the first century. In the first 60 years the gospel had gone forth throughout the Roman Empire; churches were planted, lives had been changed and new hope had pervaded the world. The world would never be the same. It was THIS gospel that changed a man by the name of Martin Luther and through whom God ushered in the reformation five hundred years ago – which changed Western Civilization.
It is THIS gospel that we need to come back to in our preaching and living.