Reading The Explicit Gospel I learned and relearned a lot about the good news that is God’s Gospel. I’m grateful to Chandler for pointing me to what the Gospel says about me as an individual, but also to what it says about the whole world- rocks and animals and the weather and people, all of it. I need to be reminded of what Jesus did for me specifically, because that moves me to repentance; but it’s not about me, really. I need to be reminded that it’s about God’s glory, because that moves me to action. My life then becomes about telling others about what God has done.
So why don’t I do this? So often man’s approval is more important to me than God’s grace. I fail to understand that success isn’t in how anyone responds to me or what I tell them; success is found in obedience. Sometimes my failure is as simple as forgetting that my role as a disciple of Christ is to bring reconciliation to the world around me. That’s why God reconciled me to Him, not just to save me in His grace, but to tell others of his reconciliation.
I did obey when I was in SE Asia last year. In The Explicit Gospel Chandler says there are two responses to the Gospel: acceptance or rejection. However, there seem to be intermediary responses, responses that occur on the way to acceptance or rejection: curiosity and disinterest. When I was in SE Asia, I never saw acceptance, but I saw a lot of disinterest. It was the best whenever we would see curiosity, though they were few and far between. The only people I remember vividly were two brothers we talked to on our last day going out to villages. They asked us questions about the story we told them and showed genuine interest. Success in SE Asia was still obedience, but it was refreshing for people to be stirred by the good news we had spent all our time sharing. Some people flat our laughed at us- a man, coming back to life? They scoffed at us; some people were even angry at us. This was no surprise; Jesus Himself said it would be like that in the parable of the seed sower.
But there are Christians in that SE Asian country; people have accepted the Gospel. They face nearly daily persecution, something we don’t really face here in America*. Less persecution should equal a more explicit gospel in my life; everything I do should reflect the reconciliation God has allowed for my soul. Every decision should be based on that good news, both its effect on me and the need I have to share it.
Thank you, Matt Chandler, for reminding me of this.
*Though I’m convinced that being a Christian here will become significantly harder before my generation goes home.