“The gospel isn’t simply a message of how bad people become good; it’s the power by which dead people come to life.”
The gospel is so much more than a self-help message. Without Christ, we weren’t just bad. We weren’t unchurched. We didn’t need a “little” help. We were dead. And being dead is a huge problem. Dead people can’t do a thing to help themselves. Not one thing.
So the gospel begins with really bad news—all have sinned and can’t do a single thing to improve their standing with God.
But the gospel ends with great news! The gospel begins with people who are spiritually dead because of the penalty and the power of sin, but through Jesus, the spiritually dead are raised to life.
The gospel isn’t simply a message of how bad people become good; it’s the power by which dead people come to life.
It’s not about Jesus making us a little better. The gospel is about our cold, dead hearts starting to beat again by the power of God.
As followers of Jesus, we are the resurrected people. We are those for whom Christ has done what we could never do for ourselves.
By faith alone, we trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and when we do, God bursts into decomposing hearts and breathes new, everlasting life.
The gospel is about resurrection; it’s about who you are trusting right now with your life and eternity. It’s not some past moment—it is a present reality.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking your resurrection ends with you.
It doesn’t. There’s more at stake than what happens in your life.
What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation and the world, to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in you and, in astonished wonder, think to themselves, God is back.
This is what Jesus did in the city of Nain (Luke 7), and it’s what he’s doing now. He intersects the lives of those who are brokenhearted, held captive by sin, guilt and the pain of the past. He steps into that prison cell of death and proclaims freedom and life. He turns the mourning into joy; he turns despair into praise. And he turns ashes into beauty.
God wants to touch your life and use your life to raise up hope.
There’s nothing more powerful than someone being carried out to death and the voice of Jesus say, “It’s time to rise up. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to rise from the dead.” It’s time to let Jesus Christ shine his light of truth and mercy and grace and healing on you, and for you to walk back into wherever it is that you came from, and for the people who know you best to stare at you in astonished wonder and say, “What happened to you?”
Because in the end, nothing amplifies the message of Jesus’ power and grace more than a corpse that was once decaying and helpless now pulsing with new life and beauty.
Jesus is meeting you here right now. Let him touch you and heal you and turn your funeral around.
Louie Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of Passion Conferences, a global movement of college-aged people living for the fame of Jesus Christ. This article was originally published on ThinkE.org.