The Difference Between Religion and the Gospel (2 of 8) by Jonathan McLeod

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The Difference Between Religion and the Gospel (2 of 8)
Series: The Gospel Centered Life
Jonathan McLeod

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9).


Today is Mother's Day. Imagine that I gave a Mother's Day gift to my Mom and said, "Mom, today is a day when people are expected to give a gift to their mother, so here's a gift from me to you." How do you think she'd respond? She'd probably think to herself (because she'd be too polite to say it), "Well, if he's only giving me this gift he feels he has to, it really doesn't mean much to me." When a gift is only given out of a sense of obligation, there is no joy for the giver or the receiver.

In our culture, giving your mother a gift on Mother's Day is considered by most people a duty. But for the person who truly loves and appreciates his or her mother, giving her a gift is also a delight. Religion makes obedience to God merely a duty. But the gospel makes it a delight. Religion is about what I have to do. The gospel is about what I get to do.


The word "gospel" means "good news." The gospel can be summed up with three words: problem, solution, and response. The problem is sin, the solution is Christ, and the response is faith.

We are all guilty of sin, but God made a way for us to be made righteous (innocent of sin) before him. "For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ "suffered once for s ...

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