We always refer to the first four books of the New Testament as the Gospels. They are the only books that walk through the life and death of Jesus Christ and since His birth, life, death and resurrection is the ‘gospel message’, those stories certainly are the complete and full gospel message.
However, the gospel message is actually repeated over and over throughout the Bible. As Paul wrote his letters, his mini sermons included in the text of these letters were almost always gospel focused. Yes, sometimes he was giving advice on how to live or grow in Christ. But many times over, he was repeating the gospel message in his text.
Romans 8 (the first 11 verses) does just that.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law,weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
These 11 verses repeat the Good News that we are free at last. Now we hear all the time in our country that freedom has a price. There is 100% truth in that statement. For our country, that price is typically seen in two ways. The blood price that our soldier continue to pay to keep our country safe and free. And then there’s the cultural price we pay when the freedoms we have allow people to do stupid things.
The freedom we have in the Spirit is the same. It too has a price. The blood price however was paid once and for all. Unlike our national freedom that continues to require more blood price throughout the generations, the blood price for our spiritual freedom was paid once and for all through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. No more blood need be shed for our spiritual freedom. “It is finished” (John 19:30)
But there still is another price to pay, not out of obligation lest we lose the gift. This other price is one we pay out of love and respect. We are instructed to use this freedom properly. The most important instruction is for us to spread the freedom to others. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)
So appreciate your freedom. Don’t feel you must do anything to earn it. It was given freely with no strings. But don’t waste that freedom either. Share it, spread it, preach it, show it. Remember, the gospel message did not end after the last sentence of John… it only began. You still are to live that gospel message and share it as often as you breath.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27)
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