8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
This is a Gospel verse. The word “Gospel” comes from old English and it means Good News. We are here at Bethany Evangelical Free Church. The word Evangelical – do you know what it means?
Some people think it means a group of people who vote a certain way. A pastor friend of mine says that they get this call from time to time: “You are an Evangelical Free church, does that mean you don’t have any Evangelicals there?” They think Evangelical Free is like Sugar Free.
Gospel is English for this word Evangelical. “evangel” is a Greek word that means good news. This is important because the Christian message is not about how to be good. Lots of people think that the reason to be a Christian is to learn how to be good, how to be a good neighbor and how to earn a place in Heaven.
We have the word Evangelical in our name. We have the word Gospel in our message to remind us that the Christian message is not what we do for ourselves. It is what God does for us. That is the Good News. It is not about being good or becoming good, it is about being welcomed by God as if we are good.
Saving ourselves would be bad news – just ask all the people who know you if you are perfect. Only what is perfect is fit for God. So earning your way to God’s blessing is bad news, receiving God’s approval and blessing is the Good news.