There is a story about two men riding together, the one a believer in the Bible and the other a traveling salesman whose product was soap. The soap salesman said, “The gospel you preach has not done much good, for there is still a lot of wickedness in the world and a lot of wicked people, too.” The Bible student said nothing until they passed by a group of children playing in the mud along the road. Seizing this opportunity, he said, “Soap has not done much good in the world, I see; for there is still much dirt and many dirty people about.” “Oh, well”, said the soap salesman, “soap is only useful when it is applied.” “Exactly!” said the Bible student, “So it is with the gospel.”

Paul said the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It is only to those who believe that it has power. Like soap, it will not help those who do not apply it. The soap salesman’s attitude is quite common today, to blame the gospel for failing the people when in fact it is the people who have failed by not believing the gospel.

The gospel is really BIG news, good news, exciting news, but most people couldn’t care less. When Noah went about telling the people the news of a coming flood it was also big news but it fell on deaf ears. The flood caught the world completely unawares but it wasn’t God’s fault, it was the people’s because they would not listen. The gospel is the good news about the coming kingdom of God and there is no bigger or more important news than this in all the world and yet it is going to find almost everyone in the whole world unprepared. Why? Because God hasn’t warned us? No. Because the warning has gone unheeded.

God is very fair. He never does anything without first telling us what He’s going to do. Yet, when He does it the world is always caught flatfooted. At the time Jesus was born, the people should have known, but they refused. So it is now. There are ample signs to indicate the near return of Jesus, but how many people are feverishly preparing to meet him? It’s not the gospel’s fault that the people are blind any more than it is the cake of soap’s fault the little boy is covered with mud. If little boys choose to play in the mud and ignore their bath, then they are going to be filthy little boys. If grown-ups choose to become engrossed in the cares of the world, in eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage as Jesus described them, then they are going to be unprepared to meet him when he comes.

Jesus told the story about the burglar who broke into the house in the dead of night. He warned that his coming would be just as great a surprise as that. But it needn’t be so. He really wants us to be ready and looking for him. This is why over and over again he tells us to watch; be ye also ready, don’t sleep with a dry lamp, don’t think that he will delay his coming, watch ye therefore.

We are told that ignorance of the law of the land is no excuse. We must obey the laws or pay the consequences even if we break the law unintentionally due to ignorance. When Jesus comes we are told that he will take vengeance on those who know not God and have not obeyed the gospel.

Those that are wise know the gospel, they know God, and have obeyed. Daniel says they will shine as the brightness of the firmament. What about the rest? About as valuable as a burnt-out light bulb. Remember, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. Do you believe? Have you applied the gospel to your life? The gospel, like soap, will only make those who have applied it clean.