What is the power of God for salvation? If you were to ask the average Christian they would probably say “the gospel”, which is absolutely correct. The message that we are sinners who have broken God’s law, and that Jesus Christ came into the world to die for our sins, and rise from the dead! However, there is a difference between saying the right answer and living out its implications. We correctly say that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes according to Romans 1:16, but I’m concerned about how this is lived out among some Christians. Right now you may be thinking “What do you mean”?
Do we need to add our own power?
To understand my following point imagine that you have new neighbors who have just moved into your neighborhood and you want to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of reaching them with the gospel? Is it a thought that you have to bring cookies over and look for opportunities to serve your neighbors? Perhaps it’s that you need to build a relationship first so that both of you are comfortable talking about a deep topic such as religion? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to bring cookies to your neighbors, serving them, and building relationships with them. In fact these are all good and God honoring things to do as a neighbor. The problem comes in when someone thinks that these are essential prerequisites to sharing the gospel with their neighbors or anyone else. It’s as if the power of the gospel isn’t enough, but is this way of thinking biblically sound?
Does faith come by hearing or good deeds?
Let’s look at the following scriptures: “The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” according to Romans 1:16. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says “for since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased with the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”. So the power of salvation is the gospel, and it’s specifically the gospel preached by someone which is likely to be perceived as foolish or even offensive, but God still uses it alone to save people. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” according to Romans 10:17, and nothing else. Good works are great, and if God lays that on your heart or you see an opportunity to do good for someone then by all means do good! We’ve been commanded to do so. But if you think you can only share the gospel with your community after you’ve built a bridge by doing good deeds then you should really consider if you’re trusting the gospel to save your community or your efforts.
The gospel doesn’t need our help. It’s God who draws people to himself as the gospel is verbally proclaimed to people. God saves through the power of the gospel! Please don’t get caught up into thinking that you can only share the gospel after you’ve demonstrated an act of service or have built a relationship. Otherwise you will miss speaking to a lot of people that you come into contact with about Jesus!
Until Next Time!