What The Gospel Isn't

Dr. Michael Horton once said:

“The Gospel isn’t: What would Jesus do? Now go and do that. The Gospel is: What has Jesus done? Now believe that.”

Though the idea of asking what Jesus would do is good, Christians too often apply this “imitation of Christ” only to ethical situations. The unintended result is that Jesus gets reduced to a teacher of morals. Of course, it is true that we are called to imitate Christ but too often we don’t think carefully about what imitation looks like.

If we are to know what it means to follow Christ, then we must seek to study Christ' life and teaching and most importantly, His death and resurrection. Therefore, if we are to imitate Christ, we need to ask a different question — not just “What would Jesus do?” but “What has Jesus done?” Once we understand what Jesus has done, we can best understand how to represent him and follow him faithfully.

It's so easy for us to raise the commands of Scripture and call them "the Gospel" when in reality, the Gospel is what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Not what we do in response to that. We don't "live" or "do" the Gospel because only Jesus did that. It's not that the commands of the Bible aren't important because they are vital, but when we submit our lives to Christ and love Him with all of our being, we will desire to obey Him and grow in holiness.

"And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." - Romans 11:6

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