What Does It Mean to “Live the Gospel”?
There appears to be much confusion as to what the Gospel is today. Many Catholics and Christians alike will say that we need to go out and “Live the Gospel”. The thing is, there is no record throughout Catholicism or even in Protestantism about “living the Gospel” until the last hundred years or so.
From what I have noticed, the phrase “Live the Gospel” is a very vague phrase that can be used depending on what the individual person wants to convey with their own interpretation. However, in general, it appears that there are several components to what they want to do by “living the Gospel”. It generally includes helping the poor, giving people what they want (not what they need), being nice to people and affirming them in their sin, not correcting anyone if they are incorrect, and in general just being a “good person”. There is no emphasis on helping people realize their sin and repenting of it, not being a good Catholic, proper worship and reverence and obedience to Christ and His Church and the like.
It is important to understand what proper definitions of words are so that we use them correctly. The Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 has several definitions of what the Gospel is:
1. Literally “good news”. A recording of the life and works of Jesus written by an evangelist. 2. Collectively, the writings of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, contained in Sacred Scripture. 3. The reading of an extract from Sacred Scripture, taken from the gospel narrative, which takes place in the ceremonies of the Mass just before the Offertory. There is a second Gospel right after the final blessing of the Mass which is of the feast day or vigils, days of special commemoration, and days in Lent when a feast is celebrated, but usually this second gospel is the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John, first chapter.
If you are to actually look into what the Gospel is, you would understand that the phrase “Live the Gospel” makes logically no sense. After all, the Gospel is literally the “Good News” as noted above. So what is the Good News you ask?
The Good News in its simplicity is that we are all horrendous sinners, worthy of the eternal damnation and punishment of Hell. We are unworthy of the rewards of Heaven. Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, came to forgive all of us so that we may have (a chance of) eternal life. He came so that we may be baptized and washed clean of original sin. He came so that we may repent of our sin and through Him, reconcile ourselves with God. Jesus died on the cross, taking up all of our sin, becoming the sacrificial lamb, so that we can attain Heaven. He died and rose again from the dead to show that when we die, we too will rise again in our glorified bodies to show-off to Satan, that even though he introduced death into the world, that Jesus Christ has conquered death, so that we may have everlasting life.
When you understand properly what the Gospel is, you realize that “living the Gospel” is a modernist heresy introduced to cause confusion among the faithful. “Living the Gospel” as is used today is about reducing Jesus Christ, who came for all the reasons mentioned above, to just a mere man who was a “nice guy” who did “nice things” for “some people”. That is not what He did.
Everything Christ did was for the glory of His Father who art in Heaven. To reduce Jesus to this “nice guy” is an insult to the Holy Trinity.
If we are to truly “live the Gospel” as is properly understood, we are to live the commandments as Jesus taught us, following Him, His bride the Church and making disciples of all nations. This is what living the Gospel is all about. Sharing this Good News, so that others may have the chance at eternal and everlasting life. To withhold this from others, is selfishness.