Don’t Be Trite with the Gospel

Here are a couple of good posts warning us to beware of using “the gospel” as some sort of catch-all spiritual pill we drop on people without any context or specifics:

Thabiti Anyabwile: I’m Tired of Hearing “The Gospel” (Warning: Mild Rant)
Kevin DeYoung: The Hole In Our Holiness: A Friendly Rejoinder to Gavin Ortlund

The gist of these articles is that when someone has a problem, struggles with a sin, is tempted by sin, or faces a trial, etc. we cannot just say, “Believe the gospel!” or “Remember the gospel!” Thabiti and Kevin both argue (rightly, in my opinion) that we must be specific with people and use Scripture. Thabiti gives this example:

My husband of 50 years just died? Can you not tell me at length something about the resurrection—Jesus’ and ours—and the adoption the entire creation awaits to be fulfilled? Can you not reduce the entire scope and swoop of Christ’s redemptive work to the mere facts of the gospel, but along with those facts sketch and paint something of the goodness of this news? I know I need Jesus. I know the news is good. I need reminders specifically enumerating the reasons why. That’s what plants, roots, and grows enduring faith. That’s how we actually get to know Jesus more personally—by finding out what He’s like in the crucible of life.

So let us not be trite with the gospel. If we are to be truly “gospel-centered,” then we will get to specifics and be ruthlessly committed to using God’s word in every situation. As DeYoung writes in his post, let us not fail to “employ the full arsenal of Scriptural threats, warnings, promises, examples, and commands for fear that unless we explicitly say something about our deep down gospel issues we aren’t really dealing with the ultimate problem and we aren’t emphasizing grace as clearly as we ought.”

When you are pointing people to the glory of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and all that goes along with this (promises and warnings included) as revealed in Scripture, trust me, you will be gospel-centered.