Every few months the topic of Christianity and fiction crops up around my Facebook feed. The usual arguments ensue, but this time one commentator’s thoughts made me pause. In fact, I found myself awake later that night writing a protest inside my head. His view is a common one I find among Christians: the gospel is for non-Christians only. Once saved, Christians move on to bigger and better things. The gospel is milk and we need to consume meat. But what I’ve found in the Bible, the gospel is not something Christians move on from, it is central to our lives for the rest of our lives. We don’t move on from the gospel, we move deeper into it.
It is our life.
Almost every book in the Bible, and all of the New Testament talk about the gospel. Over and over again. Given that many of the books are geared toward Christians and their walk, I would say that means the gospel is not a single point in time but something that is the cornerstone of our faith.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work…” Romans 1:16, emphasis mine
“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith…” Romans 1:17, emphasis mine
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Philippians 3:10-11
Even Jude wanted to share, but found he needed to write about something else more pressing: “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else…” Jude verse 3
Note, he wasn’t writing to non-Christians, but to Christians.
So why does this keep me up at night? Why am I disturbed about this trend I continue to find among Christians? Here are my reasons:
-Because it lessens the power of the gospel. When a persons sees the gospel as an event, as a prayer prayed in the past, they no longer see need of it now in their lives. They forget the depravity of sin, and the cost for our forgiveness, and the deep, deep love of God. Instead, it becomes a distant memory.
-When a person no longer needs the gospel in their life, they no longer share it. Yes, they know that they are commanded to share the gospel, but the fire is not there, and so it is a tepid share at best. I know, I’ve been there.
-They don’t live out the tenets of the gospel everyday: we are forgiven, and so we forgive others. Grace given and grace received. The awe of a relationship with God. A thankful heart for all that we have. A hurt for the brokenness of our world.
Instead of a zealousness, I find moral Christians who are brittle and lukewarm inside. Perhaps that is why I write what I write. Every time I write about the deep complexity of a broken person finally finding God, the fire of the gospel is rekindled inside of me. And I want to kindle that fire in others. I want people who read my books to remember what it was like to be lost (and thus have a heart for those who are lost), to remember when God touched their heart, and how it felt to be transformed, to be brought back to life.
The gospel isn’t just for non-Christians. It is for Christians as well. It is our heartbeat, it is what changes us, and it constantly reminds us of the God we follow.