There is No Good News Apart from the Grace of God
I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).
Near the end of his life, Paul summoned the leaders of the church at Ephesus to meet him at Miletus. It would be their last time together. He let these leaders know that he was going to Jerusalem. Everyone knew this meant trouble for him–hardships and possible imprisonment. Yet he was compelled by the Spirit to go. And he was willing. As he wrote to the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
The grace of God was front and center in his conversation. His journey to Jerusalem was one more opportunity for him to carry out the task God had given him and equipped him to do. Nothing could keep him from going–not even danger. As he stated to these leaders, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
Here, in one clear statement, Paul identifies the gospel in terms of God’s grace. In essence, there is no good news apart from the grace of God. The simple gospel is simply grace.
God’s grace was everything to Paul. And he wanted it to be everything to those he ministered to. He faced death and every kind of persecution for the sake of the gospel. This should say something to us. Far too many Christians look at grace as simply one in a long list of the doctrines of the faith. I think Paul would have some strong words to say to those who hold that view.
Grace as expressed in the new covenant is the overarching truth of the gospel. God has shown his favor to man in Jesus. Everything Jesus provided–life, forgiveness, justification, identity, his presence in us, and our freedom in him, to name a few–is a tangible expression of God’s unmerited favor toward us.
The new life you have in Christ, the forgiveness you have in Christ, and the freedom you have in Christ are all gifts of grace, given freely and without conditions. His presence in you is grace. He freely chose to abide with you and to open the way for you to abide with him. The gospel is grace from start to finish.