Why You Still Need the Gospel
Introduction: Why the Gospel is Central
It is tempting to think that the gospel is how someone is saved and then they grow and move on to more mature spiritual topics. But Acts 15 shows us how Paul prioritized gospel centrality as a key element in advancing the church and why we should apply the same principle in the twenty-first century.
By “gospel centered,” I do not simply mean that ministry is to be doctrinally orthodox. Of course, it must certainly be that. I am speaking more specifically of the gospel message of acceptance by grace alone. While every other religion operates on some type of performance-related principle (“I obey, therefore I am accepted”), the gospel condemns any self-righteousness and assures us of Christ’s righteousness (“I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey”).
Martin Luther’s fundamental insight was that the principle of “religion” is the default mode of the human heart. The heart continues to work in that way even after conversion to Christ. Though we recognize and embrace the principle of the gospel, our hearts are constantly trying to return to the mode of self-salvation. By seeking other ways to save ourselves, we fall prey to pride, spiritual deadness, and strife.The Gospel
Church: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City