Isn’t it nice to get invited to something? A party, a wedding, a sporting event? An invitation is a thoughtful gesture and the asking party awaits your response.
A proclamation however, is an announcement. It’s a declaration. Our response is not solicited nor is it needed. It just “is what it is!” On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. As a nation, we declared our independence from British rule. We didn’t solicit their agreement.
It’s my observation that many Christians put way more emphasis on an Invitation rather than The Proclamation. Jesus Christ is proclaimed to be the Savior of the world, but they say, you must do your part. YOU must confess that you are a sinner, profess that He is the Savior and then YOU have to invite Him to come into your heart. If that formula is not followed, then they say (imagine the Seinfeld soup episode) “there’s no salvation for you,” which means after your death you’ll be headed to hell in a hand-basket. Actually a hand-basket conjures up the image that you will be gently lowered, but supposedly, it is more like being thrown down!
Is that the bottom line of the Gospel, Jesus is the Savior but He needs our help to save us?
Here’s my interpretation of what the Gospel is; it is a PROCLAMATION, PERIOD! The greatest proclamation of all time was an angelic announcement made to shepherds in a field more than 2000 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? Good news, of great joy for all people. That includes you and me!
One of the greatest proclamations 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.
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 invite 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?
Inviting Jesus into our hearts does not save us for eternity, but a relationship with Him now can save us in this life. It can save us from being anxious about so many things and instead, live in peaceful union with Him. It can save us from hating others who have wronged us, which really only chews us up on the inside. It can help us to love and pray for others that they too might realize and experience the truth about Jesus as we have and live as the mantra of this ministry declares, in Power Without Fear!
In closing, let’s not confuse an INVITATION to enjoy fellowship with God, an INVITATION to receive wisdom and guidance on earth, with the PROCLAMATION that He is the Savior and He doesn’t need our help to save us.
Let’s not confuse a desire to know and walk with God now with a mandate to do so, or else. This my friends, is my joyful proclamation to you.
Click here to watch a video version of this post: FIVE MINUTE POWER MESSAGE #94: Is the Gospel an Invitation or a Proclamation?
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.