The Gospel’s Irrepressible Light
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
There are a lot of voices telling us to tone it down. There is great pressure to keep one’s faith to oneself. It’s strange that the one message we are told to turn the volume down on is the one that speaks of love, self-sacrifice, grace, and redemption. If you know the story of the gospel, you know that nothing could be more heroic, noble, and necessary for the dark times in which our world finds itself.
Still, we hear from every corner these days that we can’t have the gospel in our public parks, on our buildings, or in our classrooms, though there seems to be tolerance for every other ideology in the public forum. Christians are routinely mocked and marginalized by popular culture for their “narrow” views, while those who oppose the Word of God are free to espouse their opinions with total impunity. Who ever thought that in America we would see the day when it would be completely taboo to declare what the Bible has to say about life and the direction our society is going?
The greater question really is this: “Where is all this pressure coming from?” Who is it who really wants to silence the voice of the gospel in our world? Is it the materialist who rejects the idea of Intelligent Design as a probable first cause for our creation? Is it the University Professor who thinks the “antiquated” views of biblical Christianity are too passé to be allowed? Is it the social liberal who wants us to shed the bonds of restricting morality so we can all live by our own relativistic values? Is it the mainstream media who know they can get a laugh by poking fun at the “ignorant” Christians who quote the Bible on their reality television shows? Who is really leading the charge to put a gag order on the gospel?
We see the symptoms of the cause in the reactions by these various groups who want to do away with the Bible’s influence on our culture, but the real cause is far more insidious. There is a war going on for the souls of men. There always has been. The real enemy of men’s souls promises freedom from the tyranny of the “restrictive” biblical worldview. He tells us we’re free to do as we please, owing no one anything and responsible to none. He tells us to cast off the bonds of our parent’s faith and pursue pleasure as we see fit. Yet, while he promises freedom, he himself holds man in bondage to his own appetites, luring him slowly but relentlessly toward a hopelessly dark eternity, away from the grace and love of God.
That enemy is the Devil, whom the Bible calls the “god of this world.” In Ephesians he is called “the prince of the power of the air” who directs the course of men’s lives, and society at large, through the pursuit of those things that titillate the senses and fulfill man’s basest desires (see Ephesians 2:1-3). While he promises liberty, he himself is the ultimate slave master, holding men in bondage to their desires and lulling them into sleepy dullness toward all things truly spiritual.
What can penetrate the sin-darkened mind and reveal to man his fallen condition? What story can tell of a Savior, born to die that men might live? What tale tells of a sinless Man, Who came to reveal God’s righteousness and then made a way of reconciliation between sinful man and holy God? There is only one such story, and no wonder we call it good news, for good news it is when it falls on the ears of the sin-sick man or woman, groping in the darkness to find the way out of their prison. Good news it is, like a prisoner hearing his sentence has been commuted by one who has the authority to pardon past wrongs. Good news it is to hear that a loving God sent a perfect Savior to lead us out of darkness and death into His marvelous light. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only gospel, for there is salvation in no other, nor is there any other name by which we must be saved (see Acts 4:12).
God and His gospel will survive all attempts to silence Him and His message of hope. His detractors have been many, and time has covered them in the windblown sands of forgotten memories while the army of the redeemed shouts through the ages that the way of life has been opened by a selfless Savior who reigns in Heaven and brings heaven to the hearts of the humble. This Jesus Who died for sinners such as you and I is alive and active in the affairs of men. He is not idle, but bends His Spirit’s influence on the hearts of the lost that they might hear His voice. He speaks through His creation, which bears witness to His transcendent glory (see Romans 1:20). He speaks through His messengers whom He sends to declare His truth, and He speaks through stories of rescued sinners who found their way to life at the foot of an old rugged cross. This is the gospel, and the best of it is that there is still time to embrace it. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the accepted time (see 2 Corinthians 6:2). His promise to you is that if you call upon Him you will not be shut out, for “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”