Forgiveness is the main thing

Paul as church planter 7

“through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you”, Acts 13:38.

From Cyprus Paul sails to Perga, at the southern coast of what is now Turkey. Then he walks the 150 kilometers through the mountains to Antioch in Pisidia. Again he preaches in the synagogue. Paul gives a short overview of the history of Israel. His message builds up to a clear climax: the offer  of forgiveness of sins.

We like to say that the Gospel has to  be proclaimed. But what is the Gospel? What is the good news about Jesus? Here we encounter what is the main thing for Paul: forgiveness of sins.

In a Bangkok high-rise I once met a young man who asked me: “What will I gain from believing in Jesus?” “Lots of problems”, I told him. It evoked a smile, but he never came to church.

It is easy to present the faith in an attractive  light, for example through the promise ‘God will help you’. The things most people want from God is that He would bless them medically or financially. But  the Lord says: ‘No, there is something that is even more  important than that. You are a sinner who needs forgiveness. Do you already need Me for that?’

As soon as the forgiveness of sins is just a sidetrack of the message we bring, we are building a church that is more  focused on man than on the Lord Jesus. Then we build with hay and straw that will be burnt on the Day of the Lord. The forgiveness of sins is the heart of our proclamation.

How do you find a balance between connecting with the world of non-Christians and talking about the most important thing?

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