Saturday, March 01, 2008


I'm always amazed at how we Christians tend to use jargon when we try to preach the gospel....even when we are trying our best not to. Did I just hear a person witnessing to some stranger say, "Jesus came to save you from your sin and to bring us his glorious gospel that you may enter into His body?" Oh, where does one start with a declaration such as this?

Well, for the innocent non-believer out there, here are the basics of the as non-jargonal terms as I can make it. I'm sure some jargon might have slipped in. But at least I'm trying to get down to the nitty-gritty of my faith. I tried this with Wind Follower too. Just to get down the basic folkloric aspect of Christianity. So here goes:

Gospel is a word often used by Christians when they speak. It is a word that has two meanings and these two meanings are closely related.

The meaning of the word gospel :

• The word “Gospel” is an old English word which means good news. It is related to another old currently used old English word: gossip. But “gossip” means rumors and bad news about other people, the word gospel is used of news that is true and so wonderful it sounds unbelievable but which is nevertheless very, very true. This leads to the second meaning: something which tells the wonderful unbelievable truth about Jesus Christ.
• The second meaning of the word gospel refers to four books in the Bible which tells about the life of Jesus Christ. There are four gospels
• The gospel according to Matthew
• The gospel according to Mark
• The gospel according to Luke
• The gospel according to John
These gospel writers are called “evangelists” which is a Greek word which means “Messengers who tell the good news.” Three of the four writers (Matthew, Mark, and John) were friends, followers (sometimes called an “apostle”) and eyewitnesses of Jesus when he lived on earth. The fourth (Luke) was a friend who met them later. He was also a researcher and a doctor and he wrote another book in the Bible called “The Acts of the Apostles” which tells about how Jesus’ followers taught the gospel and what they did as they preached the good news.

All the gospels were written to tell about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ lived more than 2000 years ago in Israel. At that time the country was called Palestine and the Romans had invaded the country. The gospels show Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, and telling people about God’s love. But for Christians, Jesus is more than a mere historical figure. Christians believe Jesus is:
• The Pure and Ultimate sacrifice for a person’s sins
• The Love of God made visible
• The One and only mediator between God and humans, someone who is equal to both God and humans and so he can speak to both.
• The uncreated Son of God who co-created the world with God the Father
• The Prophet who spoke the ultimate truth and mysteries about God, God’s love, Faith, Evil and the Devil, Truth, Life, Death, Spiritual Laws, and the spiritual world.
• The True Example of what a real human being should be.
• The Living Word of God in human flesh.
• The Way to God and to heaven
• The revealer of certain mysteries such as how the world really works.

What is the good news of Jesus Christ?

The good news of Jesus Christ is based on the following beliefs:

• God loved humanity and saw that humanity had forgotten how loved they were.
• God wanted humans to know him yet he knew they could not understand his goodness or his essence because the way humans thought was different from the way God thought because God is good and God is spirit
how hard people tried, they could never be as good as God wished them to be. Nor did they wish to be.
• God’s holiness required justice and required that all sins – bad things we do, think, or say such as murder, lying, pride, or sexual immorality—be punished. But God’s mercy wanted to provide a way to help people come to Him.
people couldn’t be good without His help, yet people did not understand that they needed to understand what goodness, justice, and love were.
• God sent Jesus Christ, who is the representation of everything God is, to be born on earth as a Savior, Teacher, and Sacrifice on earth
• God put the punishment for all the sins humans would ever commit onto Jesus.
• Jesus perfectly did everything God sent Him to do.
• Jesus lived a perfect life, and died for all the sins that sinners had ever and would ever commit in order to pay for their sins
• Jesus gave his life to free humans from death, hell, and the power of sin.
• Jesus sends God’s Holy Spirit to live within those who believe what the gospel writers say about Jesus.
• T
hat anyone who puts his or her trust in Jesus and asks Jesus to died for his sin have power over sin and sickness and conquers the world through their faith in all that Jesus did.

What the gospel is not

The gospel is not
• A system of laws -- although those who believe in the gospel should be good.
• The gospel is not aesthetics – although those who believe in Jesus often worship God in many kinds of beautiful settings and church services
• The gospel is not political correctness – although those who believe in Jesus are commanded to be kind and good to all people
• The gospel is not etiquette – although good behavior is always a good thing.

How do you become friends with God?
If you want to be reconciled to God and feel that something is separating you from him, say this prayer:
God, some people are so sure that you exist. Some people are so sure that you love them. They say that if we ask you for anything and mention Jesus to you, you will answer our prayer. Please God please let me know you in the way your son Jesus Christ does. Please let me understand everything about the Bible and about you and about Jesus. Please help me see that you have destroyed even the most powerful sin and that if you live in me that I will be able to conquer sin and all that sin does to my body, mind, and soul. Please let me understand your love, your care, and your power. Help me to trust in you and for the sake of Jesus and all Jesus did for humans, please forgive me of all my sins, free my soul and spirit from the damage sin has caused in my life and make me your true and obedient child. Amen. It's done.

Carole McDonnell’s fiction, devotionals, poetry and essays have appeared in many publishing venues, in print and online. She lives with her husband, their two sons in upstate New York

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