Gospel at the Center
God has been working on my heart in innumerable ways the past few weeks. With permission to start this blog, my mind immediately swelled with the dozens of topics I could write on, but at the core of them all is this: the gospel.
What drives our love for family, church, and city? The gospel. What drives our compassion to preach to the lost? The gospel. What drives our empathy to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in other countries? The gospel. What drives our desire to meet with and stir one another up to a deeper love for Jesus? The gospel. What drives our motivation to write this blog? The gospel.
The gospel should speak into all spheres of our lives: service, love, marriage, friendship, parenting, work, math, science, home economics, eating, drinking, etc. The list goes on. The gospel changes everything.
This begs the question: What IS the gospel? Although the gospel can and should shape our lives, ALL of our lives, the gospel itself is not our lives. The gospel is a message. Gospel is from the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον/euangelion and translated literally means “good message.” Timothy Keller states, “The gospel is not about something we do but about what has been done for us, and yet the gospel results in a whole new way of life.” And so what is this good message which results in radical change?
God created the world in a perfect state. After He had created the world and everything in it, He declared, “It is very good.” (Genesis 1:31) And then, man disobeyed. Our happiness is found in obedience to God, but Adam and Eve traded the truth for a lie. Was God really for them? Eve doubted and ate the forbidden fruit, gave it to her husband, and the world shifted (Genesis 3:6). The ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17), the gift of childbearing was cursed (Genesis 3:16), there would forever be war… And yet, the war was a gift. He did not leave them in their depravity or hand them over to succumb to evil completely. There was a battle. God promised in that curse that He would make a way for his children to be with him again. The serpent would bite His heel (meaning death would have to be paid), but the child would crush the serpent’s head (even in death, He would win) (Genesis 3:15). God would make a way. Several thousand years later, Jesus came, he lived a perfect life that we could never live, he fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17), and he was crucified for the sin of his people. For them, He laid down his life willingly and for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He did this for His chosen people, God’s own people, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus was raised on the third day, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of God: the place of honor (Philippians 2:5-11, Ephesians 1:20). He currently intercedes for his people (Romans 8:34) who have this living hope (1 Peter 1:3), and one day He will return to claim his bride, the church, and we will see the rebirth of creation (Revelation 22:12, Matthew 25:34, John 14:3). All who believe this message and put their hope in Jesus shall be saved (Romans 10:9, John 3:15). And subsequently changed.
That is where this blog begins, and hopefully one day where it will also end. Although we do grow through sanctification and are being conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29), the gospel is not something we graduate from into “deeper theology.” This good message about what has been done by Jesus Christ to right our relationship with God IS the deep theology and should continually be informing and shaping all that we do.
We are a church full of sinners saved by grace called to proclaim the truth of the gospel. As fallible men and women, we may misspeak and we may misstep, but our aim is to to always, always keep the gospel at the center and in that, to know Christ and to make Him known.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
1 Peter 2:9