Gospel: Rediscovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary
Publisher (Date): B&H Books (October 1, 2011)
Length: 288 pages
Gospel is a challenging book. I bought it a very long time ago when it was on sale for Kindle (I seem to do that for many of my purchases), but I had never really gotten into it until I came across it the other day in my archives.
I am glad that I rediscovered it.
Greear encourages Christians to get back in touch with the Gospel. Sometimes, people think that the Gospel is only that first prayer you prayed to accept God into your heart, but this book argues that we need to keep every aspect of that original conversion in our lives.
To do that, he provides a sample prayer that outlines his approach to living a Gospel-centered life.
“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”
“Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.”
“As You have been to me, so I will be to others.”
“As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”
He proceeds to illustrate each of these four points with many Biblical and present-day examples for the first half of the book. Personally, I felt that this section demonstrating how we need to be towards others was the most powerful. I feel like that is too often forgotten in the world today. God demonstrated love for us, so surely we should demonstrate love for other people.
The second half of the book shows what these four individual pieces look like in action. Essentially, this entire portion of the book can be summarized by saying that if we have the Gospel in the center of our lives, we will produce spiritual fruit. He explains how this is essentially the opposite of legalism; becoming more generous for example will be a consequence of having Jesus in our lives rather than a way to earn forgiveness or additional love. After all, his first premise is that God cannot love us more than He does already. Doing good is a result of God in us rather than the way to get God to love us.
He attacks works-based salvation head on from the first page, and I think that this book is a great reminder for all of us. We can work all day and all night doing great things, but that isn’t what God calls us to do. A pair of verses from John is mentioned in the conclusion, and I think that it sums up the basic teaching that Greear wants to get across.
Joh 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Everything else is secondary. We need to put Jesus and the Gospel at the center of our lives. Things like generosity will naturally flow out of this mindset. These works are good, but Greear seems to have written this book to make sure that we do not start trying to work out our own salvation. Jesus did that for us, and we need to live like we believe that.
Overall, I would recommend this book. We live in a culture where we like to measure things and evaluate our progress. This book challenged me to think about how none of that matters. We have done our part if we put Jesus in the center and let Him work through us. He provides the power and deserves all the credit.