I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL, BECAUSE IT IS THE POWER OF GOD THAT BRINGS SALVATION TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES (Romans 1:16 NIV)
My greetings to you as we recognize and celebrate Easter 2022.
The Apostle Paul made the following affirmation in chapter 1 verse 16 of his letter to the church in Rome: ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.’ And I join Paul in declaring my fearless confidence in the truth, power and need of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Easter and the preparatory time of Lent provide us with an opportunity to enter into the salvation story of God in an immersive way. It is important to remind ourselves of the foundational and overarching story of the gospel that is at the heart of both our spiritual reality and the mission of The Salvation Army.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever your age, no matter your circumstances, the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news and is directly applicable and relevant to you. The gospel encapsulates God’s love for and choice of you; it communicates the provision of grace, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation; it contains the power of resurrection and promise of eternal life; it is the all-encompassing story of Scripture that continues to be lived out in our lives today.
For those who are more than familiar with the events of Easter, there may be the danger of taking a blasé approach to Holy Week, but I encourage all of us to focus on Easter 2022 with fresh eyes and expectation. Jesus is still the Saviour of the world. He is still the Way that leads to God.
Today’s world is a melting pot of cultures, faiths, viewpoints and practices. Some people propose we de-emphasize the harder parts of the message, but it is the essence of the good news that makes the forgiveness of sin, the path of repentance and the reality of Heaven possible for each of us.
The gospel has something to say. It brings hope, and offers an eternal dimension to impart a message that is desperately needed. Yes, we need to find relevant and respectful ways to communicate the gospel in our context, but there is no need for us to lose confidence in or shy away from the saving grace of God, made manifest in Jesus. If we don’t take the opportunity to share this message at Easter, when will we?
Salvation Army, this is your moment to share the gospel with everyone – in every and any way you can. And may you know the presence of the risen Christ as you do so.