Gospel. We keep using that word…

I think Inigo Montoya might respond to many who often use the word ‘gospel’ with, “you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” What does it mean? Here is a summary:

The message of the gospel is about God, the world, and you and me. It’s about the Story to which all other stories point. It is about the meaning of life, the search for joy, and hope in the face of death. It explains why we were created and what’s wrong with us. It explains why this world is so messed up and what God is doing to fix it. It is about the turning point of history: when a Jewish man from Nazareth walked out of his own tomb alive 2,000 years ago. And it’s about how that day marked the beginning of the renewal of all things.

Creation: The World as it Should Be

God created the world and everything in it in order to put himself – his goodness, beauty, love, and wisdom – on display for us to enjoy. As our maker, he is our loving and trustworthy ruler who owns us and provides for all our needs. We were made to know him and to joyfully rule the world under his authority.

Rebellion: What Went Wrong

Although God created all things good, the world is in shambles because we rejected him and his rule. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were rebels and didn’t trust God. Because of this, God cursed the whole world and sent them away from his presence. We all live for our glory instead of God’s and we treasure the things God gives us while rejecting him as the gracious giver. Sometimes we try to add a little religion to our lives to offset our guilt, but we can’t fix our problem. God is dishonored and we are miserable. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Romans 1:23).

Redemption: What God Does For Us

But God, because of his great grace, lovingly refuses to give us what we deserve. The gospel is the good news that God is on a rescue mission to reestablish his loving reign and restore all things. Jesus Christ lived the faithful life that we should have lived. He died the guilty death we deserve to die. Then he rose to new life so that we could also be made alive with him. He is now enthroned over all things and will come again to overthrow evil completely, renew the cursed creation, and raise his people from the dead to enjoy living with him forever. Because he died for our sins, we can be forgiven and restored to find our joy in knowing God. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Response: What We Must Do

This gospel calls us to admit that we’re more sinful and flawed than we could ever believe, and yet, because of Christ, we’re more loved and welcomed than we could ever hope. We deserve the punishment of hell for our rebellion against God, and yet, because Christ took it, there is now no condemnation for those who trust him. None. Ever. This means we must turn away from our rebellious disobedience as well as our prideful obedience. We let go of our bad works and our good works and trust only in Christ’s work. “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

We can now receive Jesus Christ and rejoice in his work for us. “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).

There is never harm in reminding ourselves once again what it is that God has come to do for us.

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2 Responses to Gospel. We keep using that word…

  1. Great summary of the gospel. Funny how we can turn something so profoundly simple into something that people struggle to understand. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Drew Hunter says:

    Hi, Jonathan. Agreed!

    Thanks for the note.

    – Drew

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