Friday, December 5, 2008

The Gospel

In addition to my Puritan reading, I have been busy reading other important books all year long. If you look at the side bar list of "Recent Reading" you will note that my reading this year has been far from eclectic, with most of it being Christian works, both old and new.

One book that I am reading right now is a small treatise entitled "What is a Healthy Church Member?" by Thabiti M. Anyabwile (go ahead, and say his name 5 times quickly!). Brother Thabiti is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman, having presently served with Mark Dever. His blog is a must read, and is found at Pure Church.

As I was reading this morning I came across a couple of gems that should be read by all Christians. In a chapter entitled "A Healthy Church Member is Gospel Saturated", Bro. Thabiti begins:

The greatest need in the world today is the gospel. It is the greatest need of the world because men, women, and children are perishing without a vital knowledge of God through the good news of our Savior and his Son, Jesus.

The greatest need in the church today is the gospel. the gospel is not olnly news for a perishing world, it is the message that forms, sustains, and animates the church. Apart from the gospel, the church has nothing to say - that is, nothing to say that cannot be said by some other human agency. The gospel distinguishes the church from the world, defines her message and mission in the world, and steels her people against the fiery darts of the evil one and the false allurements of sin. The gospel is absolutely vital to a vibrant, joyous, persevering, hopeful, and healthy Christian and Christian church. So essential is the gospel to the Christian life that we need to be saturated in it in order to be healthy church members. (pg. 39)

Wow, just wow!

And then, if there are any questions as to what the Gospel is, he gives this definition:

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all his ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin. Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is alienated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation at the hands of God. But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of his great love, sent his eternal Son born of the Virgin Mary, to die as a ransom and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people. And now, through the perfect obedience of the Son of God, and his willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in his sight, have eternal life, and receive the Spirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God himself. (pg 40-41)

By way of comparison, take note of what I posted earlier where Baxter gives his Summary of Christian Religion. While Baxter goes into more detail related to redemptive history, we see that Bro. Thabiti has given us all of the essentials of the Gospel message.

May we continue to preach this glorious Gospel to ourselves and to lost sinners as we marvel at God's grace.

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