The Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than a good message, but it is a God message. It is not man-made, nor did any man think it up. The Gospel is a divinely inspired, divinely sent message. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11,12).
Religions are mostly man’s ideas and ponderings about God. It involves humanity’s best thinking about who God is and what He is like. There are many religions in the world with many different ideas about God. While there may be some similarities among the world religions with ideas about a supreme being and heaven, but they also say many different things. Different religions have very differing ideas about who God really is, what He is like, and how you can come to know Him. Some people have a universalist perspective that says they are all right and lead to the same place.
Can that really be true though? Can many different faiths say different things about God, sin, forgiveness, heaven, hell, and the afterlife and yet they all lead to the same place. Logically, they cannot all be right. Either they are all wrong, and none of them is right; or one of them is right, and the rest of them are wrong. They cannot all be right though. Is there such a thing as real truth. Can we know the truth, and know what God is really like?
Paul is declaring that He has had a revelation of Jesus Christ and that is not a man-made idea. He was not taught about Christ from a mere human instructor. He has had a personal revelation and encounter with Jesus Christ. Paul declares the Gospel of Christ as the truth about God that has come straight from Christ himself.
Paul did not take a public opinion poll to see if this message was okay with everyone. He did not think his message of Christ was man’s best guess or another good option on a religious multiple-choice test. He believed the Gospel was a divine revelation from God. It was God’s message about God. And the Gospel of Christ is separate and distinguished from every other religion. You see, there are two ways to relate to God. I like to differentiate between the two by contrasting the words “do vs. done.”
All the world religions are spelled “DO.” This is because religion is about what people try to do in order to gain God’s approval. Religion is about people trying to get to God based upon their on human effort. We are not fond of the phrase self-righteous. The truth is, however, that when we try to claim that we are “good enough” for God, then we are actually proclaiming our own self-righteousness. We feel that we are righteous enough by our self to gain interest into God’s heaven. Scripture makes it clear this is not true. We need God’s grace.
Christianity is spelled “DONE.” Christianity is about what Christ has done for us by taking away our sin and forgiving us. It is not about what we do, but trusting in and believing in what Christ has done through his death and resurrection. A Christian does not focus on what they can do, but they trust what Christ has done and then invite him by faith to become the leader and lord of their life. In turn Christ gives us his righteousness instead of trying to be self-righteous. This is not a human message. We think we can earn heaven, or that we can somehow work our way there. We can never be good enough though. This is why Christ died.
So will you trust what you can DO, or will trust what Christ had DONE for you? Will you try to earn it – which you can never do anyway – or will you receive the gift of Jesus Christ by faith. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-634-2960.