The Gospel isn’t just for Non-Christians

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.

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7 thoughts on “The Gospel isn’t just for Non-Christians”

  1. Yes, yes, yes!!!! I was reading something similar the other day about how awful it is that Christian books seem only geared toward Christian. And someone commented something along the lines of well, what’s the point of having a Christian message in a book if non-Christians aren’t going to read it?

    Ummmm…maybe because the Christian message the author is writing is for Christians? To push them to be better Christians? For them to grow in their faith? Why do we keep reading the Bible and going to church if, once we’re Christian, we don’t need to hear about Christianity anymore?

    I think in the argument over should Christian authors be writing for Christians or evangelizing non-Christians, I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t think it has to be all one way or another. One Christian writer might be called to write works that can be read across a broad spectrum and show the power of God’s love in a generic way that does reach non-Christian. But other Christian writers are called to write to their fellow Christians to re-ignite the fire of their passion for Christ. Sometimes an author might write some books for one audience, and some for another.

    Personally, I’m a Christian writer writing for Christians. That’s the audience I’m called to write for right now. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  2. Good article, Morgan. I think you’ve made an excellent point: “We don’t move on from the gospel, we move deeper into it.”

    Fore me, I love to hear other Christians tell how they came to Christ, so why wouldn’t I want to read stories about the same? But beyond just a personal interest, I think you have clarified what Scripture teaches.

    Paul said in 1 Cor. 15 that he was delivering “as of first importance” what he’d received: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture” (vv 3-4).

    Jesus Himself instituted communion with the admonition that we should remember Him and His sacrifice. (This is My body, broken for you…)

    Why would we Christians ever want to get past our beginning with Christ? Grow deeper in our walk with Him, yes, but not impervious to His sacrifice and its power. We should never take our salvation for granted.

    Becky

  3. I think maybe the problem is that “the gospel” can be used to mean anything from “the full Biblical teaching about Christ and His saving work on our behalf,” to the much simpler and more elementary meaning of “how to get saved.” The former is a deep and inexhaustible and Scripture-spanning subject that we can never grow too much to explore. There is something in it for every level of Christian growth and experience, and a million stories to be told about it. If we ever tire of dwelling on the wonder and joy and thankfulness of what our Saviour has done for us, in fiction or in life, then there is something wrong with us.

    But often people’s ideas of the gospel don’t get that far or go that deep. They stick to “four points and an altar call”, even when their audience is already made up of believers, and they have very little to say beyond “you’re a sinner, God is holy, you need to repent and be saved.” That’s an absolutely vital message for those who haven’t received it, but there’s little in it for those who have already believed. I think that’s what a lot of those who complain that the gospel is “milk” and we need to move on. Not that we can ever move on from the deeper truths and joys of our salvation, but that we need to get beyond the basic how-to’s of it.

  4. Amen. Really well said, Morgan. It’s one reason Christian fiction is so powerful for Christians. I find I need to be preaching the gospel to myself everyday – unless we fully understand our need for Jesus every moment of every day we miss being able to bring Him glory in our lives.

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