By LOU TISCIONE
Some Christian leaders declare there is a hunger for the gospel as though it is an undeniable fact. As a result many Christians stand firmly on the idea that the world is longing to hear the gospel. After all, why wouldn’t people be hungry for God’s good news?
However, there just isn’t any biblical support for man’s hunger for the gospel or any of the things of God. Jesus told one of the leaders in Israel that “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:19)
First, what is the gospel? The word “gospel” means good news. It is specifically the good news of God. The gospel belongs to God. Romans 1:1 states that the gospel is the possession of God. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” The gospel is all about the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, the gospel has specific content. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 is a precise and condensed declaration of the content of the gospel. “… Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Further, the Apostle Paul wrote that he received the gospel. It was revealed to him. He then delivered the gospel as his first order of business. He knew that the gospel is God’s power to save all who believe (Romans 1:16). In addition, Christ not only died for the sins of His people but He lived a perfect life, accomplishing what Adam failed to do.
Thirdly, the gospel revealed in the Bible must be believed and relied upon. This is the heart of the problem. Natural man is unable to believe and place his trust in Jesus. All men are born spiritually dead. The sin of Adam is inherited by every person. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”
The comparison between man’s physical and spiritual parts creates a profound word picture. A dead body is unable to move or do anything. So it is with our spiritual lives. We are naturally incapable of doing anything to save ourselves. In fact, the natural man doesn’t even know that he is lost and on his way to hell. God must cause a man to see. It is not by our ability or our wills, but God’s sovereign will that anyone can see the truth of life in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that unless the Father draws a man or woman, he or she cannot come to Him. The word that is translated draw also means drag. The idea expressed in John 6:44 is that God must cause an individual to believe in Jesus.
The first part of the statement concerning man’s hunger is accurate. People are hungry for a god to fix their lives. A famous speaker claims that God wants to make you a better you. Some evangelists minister under the assumption that the eloquence of their preaching will convince people of the truth.
The true God doesn’t want to make you a better you. The Apostle Paul said that any who are in Christ are new creations. Paul also said that faith comes from hearing through the word of Christ. Likewise it is not the eloquence of the preacher that brings life. But the spirit of God, in concert with the word of God, is He means to raise the dead.
The truth of man’s condition and his absence of hunger for God can be paraphrased. Men are not hungry for salvation because they don’t think that they’re lost. Only God causes a man or woman to see how desperate and hopeless he or she is. Only God draws a man or woman to Himself. Only God raises the dead to be able to see His Kingdom.
Those who know and receive the gospel have been brought to their knees. Has God pierced your heart with the truth of the gospel? Have you cried out to Him, “What shall I do to be saved?”
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
John Newton – “Amazing Grace.”
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).