The best news that I have ever heard is the news of salvation in Jesus Christ. The gospel is the greatest news that anyone could ever hear. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” The gospel is what this world needs more than anything else. People are lost in sin and are in desperate need of rescue and redemption. The gospel is the answer as it shows how God has provided a Savior to mankind in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Thabiti Anyabwile writes, “Apart from the gospel, the church has nothing to say–that is, nothing to say that cannot be said by some other human agency. The gospel distinguishes the church from the world, defines her message and mission in the world, and steels her people against the fiery darts of the evil one and the false allurements of sin.” The gospel is the message that the church has been entrusted with, and she must be a faithful steward. It is the “word of reconciliation” that we preach, calling on men and women to repent and come to faith in Christ for salvation. We are saved by believing the gospel and we are also sanctified by believing the gospel. It is not only necessary for our salvation, but it is also necessary for our sanctification. As disciples, we should preach the gospel to ourselves every day and live gospel saturated lives. The third mark of a healthy church member, according to Anyabwile, is that he or she is gospel saturated. What does this look like in the life of a disciple?
First, to be gospel saturated, a person must know the gospel. This is obvious, of course, but many in the church today possess a very shallow understanding of the gospel at best. This is not to mention the false gospels that are being circulated by those masquerading as godly men. Jesus said we will always know these false teachers by their fruits–what they preach and teach, the nature of their followers, and the manner of their lifestyle. The gospel is not about us being okay, it is not about us becoming wealthy and healthy, nor is it merely about love and good deeds. The gospel of Jesus Christ is about a holy God who will punish sin. Man is in a fallen and helpless condition and cannot save himself. He is dead in trespasses and sins. Man’s greatest need is not social acceptance, health and wealth, or behavior modification. His greatest need is RESCUE and LIFE which God gives freely by His grace when man repents of his sin and trusts in Jesus. God became a Man, lived a perfect life, and yet died a horrible death on a cross as man’s substitute. Jesus Christ who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience, all who repent and believe Him by following Him as Savior and Lord will be saved from the coming wrath. Those who are saved receive His life and Spirit and become members of His body, and they demonstrate this publicly through baptism.
Second, to be gospel saturated means that one loves the gospel and lives a gospel-centered life. Anyabwile writes, “We must cultivate and protect a ravenous desire for this message. Regularly hearing and plumbing the depths of the gospel increases our knowledge of the message, our affection for the Savior, and our skill in sharing the message.” This means that I preach the gospel to myself each day as I understand that I am crucified with Christ, yet I live. The life which I know live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am to order my life around the gospel, meaning that I make it central to everything in my life. The gospel determines the nature of my decisions, my relationships, and the way that I do my work. All of life becomes an opportunity to worship and bring glory to God.
Third, to be gospel saturated means that a person intentionally shares the gospel with others and makes disciples. Always remember that the gospel made it to you because it was headed to someone else. Jesus saved me to make me a witness of His mercy and grace. The Great Commission is now my task and purpose in life. Anyabwile says, “A gospel-saturated life is a life that splashes out onto others with the good news. A healthy church is built, in part, on healthy gospel-motivated members.”
Anyabwile, Thabiti M. What Is a Healthy Church Member? Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008.