Last week, as the world was awaiting the results of the Roman Catholic papal conclave, President Obama weighed in on the sort of Pope he hoped would be selected. The New York Times quoted him as saying:
Mr. Obama said he hopes that whoever becomes pope will maintain what he called the “central message” of the gospel.
“That is that we treat everybody as children of God and that we love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them,” Mr. Obama said. “I think that a pope that, you know, is that clarion voice on behalf of those issues will, you know, will have a tremendous and positive impact on the world.”
My immediate reaction was not political. My immediate reaction was this. It is one thing for someone to attend a church for twenty-five years, but, for whatever reason, not believe the central message of the Gospel. It is another thing altogether for someone to attend a church for twenty-five years and have no idea what the central message of the Gospel is.
After stewing over this for several days, it occurred to me that I, too, have a responsibility in this area. Hopefully Southern Gospel song lyrics alone would make it impossible for someone to read this site for twenty-five years and still be completely oblivious to the central message of the Gospel. But in matters of eternal importance, it is infinitely better to be safe than sorry.
So here is the real central message of the Gospel:
- “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, KJV).
- “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, KJV).
- “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:18, KJV).
- “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19a, KJV).