God's Story vs. Our Stories What is the gospel? For many Christians today, the gospel is the good news about how I got saved-in other words, my conversion experience. But is that the way that the New Testament uses the term "gospel" or good news? Not at all. The apostles refer to the gospel as a message concerning God's Son, Jesus Christ: God made flesh, fulfilling all righteousness in our place, enduring our sentence on the cross, and being raised on the third day as the source of eternal life. Where are you in that definition? Where am I? Nowhere!!! That's why it's good news. The gospel is the good news about who God is and what he's done in spite of who we are and what we've done. The gospel is good news for us precisely because it isn't about us.
It's striking that we know practically nothing about the personal piety of the apostles. In fact, we know more about Peter's misunderstanding of the gospel and cowardice before the resurrection than we learn about his godliness afterward. The whole focus of the Scriptures is on God's salvation of the ungodly, the helpless, those without any hope of saving themselves.
That's not to say that there's no place for telling friends and neighbors about the difference that Christ has made in our lives or telling them how we came to faith through the gospel, as much as that mysterious work of the Spirit can be identified. But we shouldn't assimilate Christ's story to our own. What happened to us is the result of the gospel, it isn't the gospel. The gospel is what happened to Jesus Christ. It is his life story, not ours. And precisely because of that fact, our lives can be grafted onto his. We die to ourselves and "the show about nothing" and are made alive in Christ by the Spirit.
As we consider how we can be effective witnesses to Christ in a post-Christian culture, it's vital that we recover the clarity and confidence in the gospel as the good news concerning Christ that is, for precisely that reason, good news for all of us