Saturday, May 23, 2009

What is the Gospel?

We talk a lot about the gospel at Grace Church. It's the cornerstone of our body; it's the epicenter of the Christian faith. Without the gospel, you don't have Christianity. You may have Christian ethics and rules, but that is not good news for sinful people who have failed to live accordingly.

So, we must make sure we understand the gospel. The Gospel Coalition puts it this way:

"We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised"). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved)."

They are right on. To be even more explicit, the cross is the wisdom of God in propitiating the sins of man. Without the cross, the just and righteous wrath of God has not been appeased. It is there, on the cross, that Jesus makes atonement for our sin, bearing the full weight of the penalty we deserve. It is on the cross that God's punishment for sin is taken and done away with, so that anyone who places faith in Christ will find forgiveness for sins. Anyone who responds will be given a new heart and will be credited Christ's righteousness, leading to geniune change in the life of the believer. Ultimately, the cross promises eternal life with the true and living God - which is the great news within the good news.

May we never be a people who lose their awe for the glory and wisdom and power of the gospel.

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