This post was the final post on Southern Gospel Journal.
Let’s finish this project by placing the spotlight on what matters most.
To survive and thrive in the future, Southern Gospel needs young talent. We need to encourage talented young singers who love this music, because if there’s going to be a Southern Gospel worth hearing fifty years from now, they will be the ones singing it. But vocal talent alone never saved a single soul. The power of the Cross alone saves souls.
To survive and thrive in the future, Southern Gospel needs live music. Live pianists or full bands formed a key portion of the appeal that created this genre’s glory days. But live music alone never saved a soul. The power of the Cross alone saves souls.
To survive and thrive in the future, Southern Gospel needs well-crafted songs. Our leading groups shouldn’t have to settle for cliché-filled songs. But well-crafted songs alone never saved a soul. The power of the Cross alone saves souls.
Of course, I use “the power of the cross” as a shorthand for the Gospel message. The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God. Ever since, each member of the human race is born a sinner, in a state of rebellion against God.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, KJV).
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, KJV).
Sin is the bad news. Here’s the good news: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:18, KJV).
While we were yet His enemies, Jesus came to this earth to live a sinless life and pay for our sins by dying in our place.
How are we to respond? Faith and repentance.
Saving faith in Jesus isn’t just an intellectual acknowledgment that He came; it’s something that changes our lives. It’s not just intellectually acknowledging that the ice over a lake is thick enough to hold our weight; it’s stepping out on that ice.
Repentance includes remorse (feeling sorry for our sins), but it isn’t just remorse. It also means turning away from those sins. It’s not that we become instantly sinless at our conversion. But as sanctification continues, we steadily become more and more like Jesus and less and less like our former sinful self.
We are called to profess our faith (Matthew 10:32-33 and many other verses). Once we have experienced the truth and the power of the Gospel to change our lives, we do those around us an injustice by keeping it to ourselves!
The power of the cross must always remain central.
* * *
And with that, farewell.