Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

Is Your Gospel Too Small?

Is Your Gospel Too Small?

There is no greater need in our world than more clear, more faithful, and more fervent proclamation of the one true gospel of Christ. We need to tell everyone about Jesus and what He has done. We should do this over coffee and meals. We should do this through books and blogs. We should do this through sermons and songs. 

We should use any and every means at our disposal to help more people know Jesus. 

Yet, in all our efforts to live in light of the one true gospel and share it with the world around us, we must guard against two tendencies to shrink the gospel…

Your gospel is too small if…

1. It requires your obedience to provide your salvation.

If your gospel requires any amount of cleaning up, or keeping rules prior to being saved, it’s not the Biblical gospel. If any issue of morality is the means of God’s favor and forgiveness, you’ve missed the beauty and the heartbeat of the gospel. It’s hard to get much more explicit than Ephesians 2:8-9 on this point:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Our salvation is rooted in Christ’s righteousness, not our own. Our salvation is the result of Jesus’ atoning work on our behalf, not on any amount of our effort, or earning. So, your gospel is too small if it requires your obedience to be effective for salvation.

Your gospel is too small if…

2.  It does not require your obedience as proof of your salvation. 

In an effort to emphasize the free-nature of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (an effort I applaud), some de-emphasize the importance of obedience in the Christian life. James 2:17 is a dagger to the heart of this half-gospel:

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Make no mistake, your obedience does NOT provide your salvation, but it does serve as proof of it. Don’t for one second think that your obedience does not matter. The Bible is filled with commands, guardrails, and guidelines God has called His people to obey - not for His love, but from it. 

Which of these two directions do you find yourself falling toward? Is your gospel too small? 

Is any amount of your effort actually an attempt to earn the forgiveness, or love of God? If so, you’re gospel is too small and you should repent and believe that Christ freely offers new life to you through faith. 

Or, have you cheapened the grace of God by diminishing the importance of obedience as fruit of saving faith? Your gospel is too small and you should repent and believe that Christ’s free gift of salvation also imparts the empowering work of the Holy Spirit to aid your obedience. 

We need a bigger gospel. Where do you need to lean into all the gospel is today?

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