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The Poor Man’s Gospel


The Christian Gospel is indeed “the poor man’s gospel.” The great Charles Haddon Spurgeon, probably the greatest preacher of the 19th century, expressed it simply, yet elegantly, in the following words. “The longer I live, the more I bless God that we have not received a classical gospel, or a mathematical gospel, or a metaphysical gospel; it is not a gospel confined to scholars and men of genius, but a poor man’s gospel, a ploughman’s gospel; for that is the kind of gospel which we can live upon and die upon. It is to us not the luxury of refinement, but the staple food of life. We want no fine words when the heart is heavy, neither do we need deep problems when we are lying upon the verge of eternity, weak in body and tempted in mind. At such times we magnify the blessed simplicity of the gospel. Jesus in the flesh made manifest becomes our soul’s bread. Jesus bleeding on the cross, a substitute for sinners, is our soul’s drink. This is the gospel for babes, and strong men want no more.”

The Gospel is, as Spurgeon reminds us, a poor man’s gospel, a poor man’s good news. All of us, regardless of our status and place in society, regardless of the size of our bank accounts, indeed regardless of how important we or others esteem ourselves to be, we are all poor and bankrupt in the sight of God and in need of the poor man’s gospel. That gospel, the Apostle Paul reminds us, is a gospel for sinners. He tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). In these days of a worldwide pandemic, let us bear in mind the pandemic of our universal poverty before the God against Whom we have all sinned. And let us be thankful for this poor man’s gospel, which God has provided in the only savior of sinners, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice in the reality “that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Jesus Christ is Himself the gospel. He is the poor man’s gospel, Whom all of us most desperately need.

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