On 22 April 2022, all Singaporeans were warmly greeted with the long-awaited news that COVID-19 measures would finally be eased from 26 April 2022 onwards, as Singapore would lower the Dorscon level from Orange to Yellow. I remember the news spreading like wildfire. Just within minutes of the news release, I began seeing it posted all over social media and shared in the various group chats that I was a part of. You could almost hear the collective sighs of relief and joyous cheer from Singaporeans ringing across the nation. The good news was a sign that the nation had finally overcome the worst of the pandemic and an indication of freedom from the chains of the safe management measures that had fettered social gatherings and businesses for the past two years.
Like many, I received the news with delight and was excited to make plans for life after 26 April. Yet, as I was doing so, I could not help but also reflect upon the good news of Jesus Christ and his kingdom, and its impact on my life as a Christian (and by extension, the church). As followers of Jesus, how do we respond to the gospel that we have heard and received? Are we eager to share it with others with the same vigour as we did the 26 April news? How has the liberating work of the gospel transformed the way we live our lives today?
In the four gospel books, Jesus revealed his divine identity as the Son of God, whose primary ministry on earth was to preach the good news of the kingdom and liberate all who were captive to sin by calling them to repentance (Matt 4:17; Lk 4:18, 42). In the book of Romans and 1 Corinthians (among other epistles), Paul preached relentlessly about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation that only comes by grace through faith in him (Rom 3:22-25; 1 Cor 15:1-8; Eph 2:8-9). The famous theologian Timothy Keller summarises the gospel into a single statement:
Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.
Does this good news amaze you? Does it fill your heart with love and gratitude towards the one who has redeemed you to be part of his people and to reside in his kingdom forever? Does it lead you towards joyful praise to God who has made all these possible in Christ?
Lest we have the misconception that receiving the gospel should only trigger an inward response, Ephesians 4:17–5:21 and Col 1:5-6 teach us that the gospel must also bear fruit and lead to a transformative effect in our lives as well. We have been born again by the Spirit and given a new life through faith in Christ. And having been freed from the captivity of sin, we are therefore called pay close attention to how we walk, making sure to put off our former life that is corrupted by sin, and put on the new self that is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. We are now free in Christ to live in faith and in obedience to him within his kingdom (Gal 5:1).
And just like how the good news of 26 April was actively re-posted/re-tweeted/re-shared by everyone who heard it, scripture also calls us to proclaim the good news of Christ to others. We are not to keep it to ourselves! We see that clearly in the examples of the apostles and disciples of Jesus who made it their lives’ mission to do so wherever they went. This is seen in none more so than in the person of the apostle Paul, whose ministry reflected his deep desire for all to know, love and enjoy Christ as he did (Phil 1:23-25; Eph 3:16-19; 1 Cor 9:15-23). Through his example, the apostle Paul has shown us that proclaiming the gospel is not only something that we should do, but also something that we should want to do, out of love for Jesus and his people! Are we similarly eager and excited to share this good news with others? Recently, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a colleague of mine at work. Even after he expressed an interest in finding out more about the Christian faith, it still took me a few weeks before I mustered up the courage to invite him to lunch to share the gospel with him. When I was able to finally do so, I was made to reflect on several questions that may also be helpful for us to consider in our own personal efforts in evangelism:
1. Are we prepared to share the gospel anytime and anywhere?
2. If you were given just 10 minutes to share the gospel with an unbeliever, how would you do it?
3. How often do we share the gospel with others?
4. Do we trust and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to turn hearts towards Christ?
May we ignite our zeal and eagerness to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others and live out gospel-transformed lives, so that others may also receive and respond with faith, love, and joy in Christ.
- Dn Tan Jiayi