If the gospel has a prerequisite, it is humility — we must be humble enough to hear what the gospel says to us. The process of salvation can go no further if there is anything that filters the gospel out of our thinking. So Jesus said, “Take heed how you hear.”
If the gospel is about redemption from our sins, we aren’t ready to obey the gospel until we see our sins for what they are and grieve them in a godly way. To hear the good news, we must accept the bad news about the sins that we need to be saved from.
Discipleship to Christ is rewarding but it is costly, and Jesus said for us to “count the cost.” We should not be surprised that there is a cost, for true love is always costly. The right time to count the cost of discipleship is before we commit ourselves to Christ.
Because faith is so important in the gospel of Christ, we need to devote an entire lesson to it, and that is what this lesson is. What is faith (or trust) and why is it so important? What is the link between faith and obedience? What is the “obedience of faith”?
If honesty has brought us to the point of saying “What must I do?” then we’re ready to hear what Jesus requires of us to (a) be forgiven of our sins, and (b) begin our lives of discipleship. In God’s plan, then, how do we actually commit ourselves to Him?
It is in baptism that we die with Christ (Romans 6:3,4). If this is true, then the question “Have you been baptized?” can just as well be asked this way: “Have you died with Christ?” If we have not died with Him, the benefits of Christ’s death do not apply to us.
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). It is important not only to obey the gospel, but to continue obeying it. To go back on our commitment to Christ is to go back to being lost (2 Peter 2:20–22).
If we define “obeying the gospel” as rightly responding to the good news, what response is more right than telling others about the gospel? In gratitude for grace, we will want to share with others how they may enjoy the salvation we are blessed to enjoy.