“The gospel isn’t advice: It’s the good news that you don’t need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you. And it’s a gift that you receive by sheer grace—through God’s thoroughly unmerited favor.”
~ Timothy Keller, Author and Pastor
Some people take the gospel as good advice–something to strive for like quitting smoking or eating better. Others see it as a set of structured guidelines that must be followed to attain salvation. Yet, I believe the gospel is more than just good advice or a set of hard and fast rules. It’s history-making, life-shaping good news. It’s the news that God connects to you in an authentic and personal way daily, not because of what you have done (or not done) but because of what Jesus has done for you. It’s the good news that you’re “off the hook.” You’re not responsible for your salvation, just for the acceptance of it. Knowing, loving, resembling, and serving Jesus as the main passion in your life is what the Good News is all about.
However, people worry that if they allow Jesus to enter all aspects of their lives by putting everything else as secondary, they will become fanatical. They will have gone “too far” in their beliefs and therefore hate and oppress others who have not.
The pastor Timothy Keller says that people who oppress others who they believe are not “religious enough” have not gone “far enough” themselves. He states it this way, “They aren’t as fanatically humble and sensitive, or as fanatically understanding and generous as Jesus was.”
People who follow the rules so that they can gain favor are still “treating Christianity as advice instead of good news.” And that’s where Christianity differs from other religions. It’s not a rule- or advice-based, self-help dogma. Rather it’s a way of life where the author has already walked the walk and now wants you to share in the benefits. It’s the good news that you’re saved regardless!