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What is an Evangelical?

Article by Barbara C. Needham

What is an Evangelical?To answer that we must first define the ‘Evangel’.

That would be the proclamation of the ‘Good News’ of salvation that has been gained for us through Jesus Christ, by His life, death, and resurrection. God sent His son in to the world to become man, the Incarnation. As our Substitute, in His life on Earth, He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law of God, and He then suffered death in our place, to pay for our sins, our debt to God. Because of this two fold action on our behalf, we have been imputed (credited) with the righteousness of Christ. We are pardoned for all of our sins. This is all a free gift of His Grace.

This message is also called the power of God for salvation.Why?

Because, the Word of Christ does what it says, what it demands. It calls us to faith and it creates faith as it is preached. Through faith we are justified. It is an act of God. Not a work of man. God is the ‘doer’. He is also the keeper. We do not keep ourselves in the Faith by being good, obeying the Law, or paying God off. We are kept in the faith by the same Word that created faith, the same Word preached and received regularly.

We can’t ‘outlaw’ sin away. It will continue until the end. It is a part of us, which is why we all get to die. No one is sinless and no Christian has been given the gift of sinlessness. “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

But since perfection is demanded, God Himself provides it through this Divine Transfer. Though we deserve nothing from God, He grants us forgiveness of sins, causes us to become His children, grants us the perfect account of Christ and credits our Savior with our vile account of sin. All of this because of the Work of Christ on our behalf.

This is the medicine for our troubled lives. Though we look pretty bad at times His promise is, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So we continue on, with hope in His promise. Though we walk through this valley of death, He is with us, and we will rise one day in the resurrection, all because we are forgiven.

But not yet. He has promised trouble for this life. Not a smooth, prosperous trip, though we do know the end of the story. In this life we live by faith despite how bad we look. We don’t have to pretend sinlessness and we can afford mercy for our beleaguered neighbors.

This message is the balm of Gilead that we sinners ‘need’ to hear, to survive. This is the preaching that builds and sustains faith in a very fallen world. Christ said that all Scripture is about Him and what He has done for us, not about what we must do for God. This is the message that we need to hear this Christmas season.

This is what the Evangel meant in the Apostle’s time and in Luther’s time.But does it mean the same today?

This is what the Evangel is not:It is not motivational preaching. Jesus did not die to get you to try harder, or to make you a better ‘you’. He died to be your Substitute and forgive your sins.It is not tips on how to love your wife better. While that would be a very good thing, it isn’t the Gospel, the Evangel.It isn’t preaching about how to wheel and deal God to get more money. The Bible does address this though. It is called covetousness and greed.It isn’t moralistic or legalistic preaching. While it is certainly a good thing that people have a decent sense of morality and obey the law, it does nothing in our relationship to God.It isn’t preaching politics of any variety in the pulpit. Mixing the the two kingdoms is never a good thing. And God is not afraid of the ACLU and He certainly is not a card carrying member of either the Democrat or Republican party.

But back to the original question.What is an evangelical?It is simply, someone who believes and preaches this message. An Evangelical preaches Christ crucified for sinners relentlessly, as if our lives depended on it, since they do, just like Christ instructed His Apostles to do.

Now, is this what you are hearing on Sunday morning? If not, then throw tomatoes at the preacher and find a Church that will give you what God says you need, for life and death. After all, He has provided all that you need, already.”For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.”

About the Author

Merry Christmas from The Smokin’ Frog T-Shirts and Gifts, The Smokin’ Frog,TFS Protests! Blog and The Smokin’ Frog Blog.

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