“…God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
Paul the Apostle used an interesting turn of phrase in referring to “our gospel” here in 2 Thessalonians 2:14. For instance, one might have expected Paul to reference the gospel in addressing the good news of God’s plan of salvation through faith in Christ. Instead, he used the possessive term “our gospel” to deliver this message. The question is, why?
Perhaps the simplest way to understand this reference is to recognize that God does not take a “one size fits all” approach to ministry. While the content of the gospel remains unchanged, God accommodates the needs of various audiences by equipping different speakers with the tools they need to effectively communicate with others. Thus, we can expect God to use the cultural backgrounds, rhetorical skills, life experiences, and interests of various ministers to meet the needs of different people. This is how “the” gospel becomes “our” gospel.
Of course, there are also many counterfeit gospels (both religious and non-religious) that purport to be “good news” but really aren’t. For example, there are spiritual “gospels” that promote good works, virtuous lifestyles, or the adherence to various standards as the path to acceptance with God. Then there are non-religious “gospels” that include social popularity or the accumulation of wealth and material possessions as the keys to happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction. Other types of secular gospels include the single-minded pursuit of business, athletic, political, or academic successes.
In light of this, we can say that everyone has his or her own gospel in a sense. In other words, everyone lives by a set of beliefs they believe to be “good news.” Furthermore, everyone preaches their “gospel” through the choices and judgments they make each day. The real question is, how closely does “our” gospel align with “the” gospel?
Remember, the Biblical book of Proverbs tells us “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12 NLT). In fact, this reminder is so important that it is repeated again later in Proverbs 16:25. It is only when “our” gospel reflects “the” gospel that it becomes something to live by. Therefore, we would do well to prayerfully examine the “gospel” that we believe and preach to others.