by Sondra Peters

I was having a conversation with my friend, five-year-old Ayden, while he was eating his McDonald’s Happy Meal. I asked him about the cookie and he said that there was no cookie. I said, “What kind of a happy meal doesn’t have a cookie?!?” And he responded, “A sad meal.”

Yes, indeed.  That’s sad.

I think the same thing when I hear a preacher giving a sermon about hellfire and brimstone, sin separating us from God’s love, God’s punishment, His anger, His condemnation.  What kind of gospel is that?  It isn’t!

The gospel is good news. If it’s not good news, it isn’t the gospel. The entire Bible is about God’s plan for mankind to spend eternity as brothers and sisters to Jesus within the embrace of the triune God—the Father, Son, and Spirit—on a new earth.  What is required of you?   John 3:16-17 says, “Believe in Jesus.”

He doesn’t condemn you, He loves you!  He isn’t angry at you; he’s angry at sin which destroys your happiness.  He isn’t out to punish you.  What some see as punishment is the result of our bad choices.  God says that nothing, not even our actions, can separate us from His love!  That’s the gospel!

If the gospel you’re listening to in church isn’t about God’s love for you, it isn’t the true gospel.  It’s just a sad story–like a Happy Meal without a cookie.