The Need for the Gospel in Today’s World
When I share the Gospel, I often have people object that the Gospel doesn’t really seem necessary. “I get what you’re saying, but I’m honestly happy as I am. I don’t really see the need for the Gospel in today’s world. I’m honestly fulfilled just as I am.” This is tough to respond to! Who am I to tell someone they aren’t happy?
I could respond in a few ways. For instance, I could try to argue with them: “No, you’re not happy! Your life is awful!” But that seldom works. (Trust me – I’ve tried.)
By God’s grace, many people do find happiness in this life. And I praise Him for that. I’m thankful that despite all the sorrow that sin brings, God has still tremendously blessed us. So we shouldn’t try the “You’re not actually happy” response.
Instead, we need to address the deeper issues at play. When people think the Gospel is irrelevant, it’s because they are misunderstanding at least one of the following three issues.
It has often been said that the Good News of the Gospel doesn’t make sense unless you understand the Bad News of sin. To illustrate: I would definitely be happy if a cure for cancer were discovered. But can you imagine how happy that cure would make someone about to die from cancer?
In the same way, unless we understand the seriousness of sin, we won’t think the Gospel is necessary for us. The point of the Gospel isn’t to make us slightly more loving or a little more fulfilled. It’s to remove a virus that’s going to kill us. We each have a time bomb within us threatening to undo us eternally – sin. The Gospel is the amazing news that Jesus has offered His virus-free body in exchange for our virus-infested bodies. He has taken our sin, conquered it, and freed us from the sin that threatens to separate us from God forever.
Misunderstanding the Purpose of Life
Thinking there is no need for the Gospel in today’s world reveals an even deeper misunderstanding. It assumes that the meaning of life is just to be “good enough.” But what really are God’s plans for the world? According to the Bible, God’s plan for the world is nothing short of utter perfection. Revelation 22:1-5 describes it this way:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Misunderstanding How Goals Work
Question: is it true or false that I need a phone?
Answer: it depends on my purpose. Do I need a phone to live or be happy? No, not at all. But do I need a phone in order to talk to my friend on the other side of the world? Yes.
Apply this insight to your friend who says he doesn’t need the Gospel. “You don’t need the Gospel? Are you saying you don’t need the Gospel to feel happy right now? Or are you saying you don’t need the Gospel to enter God’s perfect kingdom?”
Those are two very different questions. When sharing the Gospel, emphasize over and over that the Gospel isn’t about psychological fulfillment. It’s about saving the world.
Sample Conversation About the Need for the Gospel
So how might you talk to someone about this? It could go something like this:
Asking Clarifying Questions
Christian: “… so that’s the Gospel! Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, and He rose from the dead to conquer death.”
Friend: “Hmm, I think I get what you’re saying. But I don’t think it’s for me.”
Christian: “What do you mean by saying it’s not for you?”
Friend: “I guess I just don’t need it. I mean, I live a pretty good life right now. I feel fulfilled and happy.”
Christian: “Sorry for another question, but I’m curious what you mean. When you say you don’t need the Gospel, what do you mean? What do you think the Gospel is for?”
Friend: “What do you mean?”
Christian: “You said you don’t need the Gospel. What do you not need it for? When we say ‘I don’t need that,’ we usually mean we can accomplish some goal without extra help. So what is it that you don’t need the Gospel for?”
Friend: “Like I said, I don’t need it to be happy.”
God Desires a Perfect, Sinless World
Christian: “I actually agree with you, at least to an extent. You don’t necessarily need the Gospel to feel happy. But you need the Gospel to be perfect and welcomed into the Kingdom of God.”
Friend: “Why would I need to be perfect? I really think that’s pushing things a bit. We all make mistakes. It’s human to err.”
Christian: “Actually, I don’t think so. According to Jesus and the Bible, God’s ultimate plan is for the entire world to be perfect. I mean, just look at the war, violence, and mistreatment all over the world. Do you think God’s just cool with all this?”
Friend: “Probably not. But that raises another question: why doesn’t God end all the evil in the world?”
Christian: “God is going to end all of the evil in the world. And there are two ways He can do that. The first option is to just destroy or remove all evil in the world. But as you and I have made clear: that means He would remove us. The second option is for God to remove the sin from human hearts through the Gospel.”
Friend: “So you’re saying that God has to either remove us or remove our sin?”
The Real Need for the Gospel
Christian: “Yes. That is why the Gospel is so important: Jesus took our sin and gives us His own perfection.”
Friend: “And why is this all necessary?”
Christian: “Because God’s ultimate plan for the world is to perfect it and have it be free from sin, with no death, no sin, no hatred, but a perfect world of love and worship and gratitude.”
Friend: “I think it’s starting to make sense. Can you try to put it all together?”
Christian: “God wants a perfect world – that’s the goal. However, we are imperfect. In fact, you and I, through our sin, make God’s perfect world imperfect. So if God is going to perfect this world, because of our sin He either needs to eliminate us or perfect us. If you choose to embrace the hope of the Gospel, He can ‘perfect’ you today through what Jesus did in His death and resurrection”
Simplifying The Need for the Gospel Today Even Further
So in very simple terms, there is good news, bad news, and more Good News:
- Good news: God has a perfect plan for the world.
- Bad news: our sin keeps us from enjoying that perfect plan for the world.
- Good news: through the Gospel, we can be brought back into God’s perfect plan for the world.