Read Jonah 3
The Gospel is the worst news and it’s the best news. The Gospel means that the life that you’ve known is now over. That the pleasures you pursue for satisfaction are no longer permitted. That your plans prepared to affirm your self-worth and value have now been changed. The Gospel means that in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ you have now been buried alongside the Son of Man. The Gospel means that the authority you’ve once held over your own life has now been passed on to someone else. That the life that you’ve known is over. This IS the Gospel and this IS the only Gospel. The message of any other Gospel is no Gospel at all.
However, with this death of the self comes a new life, incomparable to the life you’ve known and more fulfilling than you could have ever imagined. The Gospel declares to the world that God is God. He is the authority that known best. You no longer have to pretend that you have everything under control. You don’t. He does. He is the judge that can truly judge, fairly upholding an unwavering standard of justice to all people of all nations. You no longer have to be the sole defender of fairness, justice and equality, fighting an uphill battle that only ever gets steeper and higher. He is the God who understands precisely who we are, yet has decided to pursue His love for us in spite of our sins.
The Gospel never declares to you what you want to hear. It never declares to you what you think you can handle hearing. It never declares that you are good and merely in need of subtle adjustments to your daily habits and routines in order to obtain righteousness, peace, joy and persistent strength. The Gospel says give up. Give up your fight to claim authority on your life as if you were God. You can’t and won’t win. The Gospel says that the world we live in is under the watchful eye and in the caring hands of a creator who will not leave the persecuted without a savior, nor the persecutor without a judge and jury. The Gospel is truth and truth does not alter depending on the audience. Truth is truth to the slave as much as it is to the master. We are all under the standards of the living God and we will all be assessed and measured according to the standards of His image we find alive and active within each of our hearts. We don’t need affirmation that we are good. We need the truth that we need a savior from ourselves. We don’t need affirmation that we are special and above the rest. We need the truth that identifies us children of God in a family of others no different than us. The Gospel is a convicting, uniting and empowering truth that has the means to transform our world. But the Gospel must be seen as bad news if it can ever be perceived and believed as good.