What is a proclamation?
Isn’t it nice to get invited to something? A party, a wedding, a sporting event? An invitation is a thoughtful gesture and whoever makes the invitation awaits your response.
A proclamation, on the other hand, is an announcement. It’s a declaration. Our response is neither solicited nor is it needed. It just “is what it is!”
Consider our own Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, Congress declared our independence from British rule. Congress didn’t solicit anyone’s agreement.
It’s my observation that many evangelical Christians put much more emphasis on a biblical Invitation rather than the Proclamation contained within the scriptures. Jesus Christ is proclaimed to be the “Savior of the World,” but the evangelicals say, YOU must do your part:
- YOU must confess that you are a sinner.
- YOU must profess that He is the Savior.
- YOU must invite Him to come into your heart.
If that formula is not followed, then the Evangelicals say (imagine the Seinfeld soup episode)“No salvation for you!“ This means that after your death, you’ll be headed to hell in a handbasket. A handbasket, however, conjures the thought of one being gently lowered, yet a more accurate description from them involve being thrown into hell! Is this really the Gospel- Jesus is the Savior, but he needs, or requires our involvement to be saved? If a lifeguard dives into the water to save a person who is drowning, does he ask permission, or does he just save?
Consider a the Gospel as a Proclamation to all
I have a different interpretation of what the Gospel is. It is a Proclamation, period! In fact, the greatest proclamation of all time was an angelic announcement made to shepherds in a field more than 2,000 years ago, and it involved you and me:
Luke 2:10-11 (NKJV) Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Did you catch that proclamation? The angel said, “good news, of great joy, for all people.” That includes you and me!
Another profound proclamation in American history was when President Abraham Lincoln declared that as of January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves were to be set free. It was called the Emancipation Proclamation.
Jesus while stretched out on a bloody cross suffering for all of us, uttered His own Emancipation Proclamation when He cried out, “It is Finished.” With those three words, His proclamation was that all the sins of all mankind for all time were paid for!
John put it this way;
1 John 2:2 (NASB) and He Himself is the propitiation (the payment) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
What are we to respond to?
So I believe that the Gospel is a proclamation of something that is finished. Jesus is the Savior and you are saved!
Now if, in fact, our eternity is secure through absolutely nothing that we do, should we respond to the biblical invitation and ask Jesus into our hearts? ABSOLUTELY! Why would you not want to have a relationship with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the one who already saved you?
When invited Jesus into my heart as a 24 year old, that did not save me for eternity. I was saved more than 2000 years earlier, and so were you, when Jesus paid for all sins that were ever, or would ever be committed. But a relationship with Jesus right now can certainly “save” us in this life. A relationship with our Savior can:
- Save us from being anxious about so many things and instead, live in peaceful union with Him.
- Save us from hating others who have wronged us, which only chews us up on the inside.
- Save us from being unconcerned about others and rather, cause us to love and pray for them, that they too might realize and experience the truth about Jesus, and live as the mantra of this ministry declares, in Power Without Fear, through Christ!
Clear up the confusion
In closing, let’s not confuse an INVITATION to enjoy fellowship with and receive guidance and instruction from God, with the PROCLAMATION that He is the Savior. He already saved us for eternity, and He didn’t and doesn’t need our help. Let’s not confuse a invitation to know and walk with God now, with a mandate to do so, or else. This friends, is my joyful proclamation to you.
Phil Henry is a financial adviser and also an ordained minister who founded and produces short videos and blog posts at Phil Henry Power Gospel.