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What is the Gospel?

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The point of the entire Bible is not simply a construction of rules, liturgy, or even becoming the most moral man in the world. It is not about controlling people’s hearts and minds in order to be in control or monetarily profitable. No, the Bible is about the Gospel, which is how we come to know God. Ever since Genesis 1:1, God has written a tapestry of thousands of stories in order to show his excellence of His character and attributes. Every individual, every civilization is pointing to the revelation of God’s glory, regardless of their obedience or faithlessness. God has been making Himself known to us in order for us to have life (John 10:10) and rest in Him (Matt. 11:28-30). So how does God do it? Well, it is quite amazing actually. He decides to take practically insignificant people (Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Jacob’s other sons, Rahab (a prostitute), Job, Joshua, various Prophets (some racist like Jonah and others faithful like Elisha) in the Old Testament to show His greatness through His power, compassion, suffering (as in longsuffering and patience), authority, control, and other marvelous attributes in order to show how desperately we actually need Him and how desperately we need to see all-satisfying Glory.

Yet, everyone in the Old Testament who could be possibly seen as a hero was shown to be a false hope, as intended by God. Moses sinned (Numbers 20), King David was a murderer (2 Sam. 11), and many other “heroes” had their moments, revealing that they simply couldn’t do it. Human ingenuity and autonomy were not sufficient for the goals that God gave to them. So, as according to plan, they rested on Him, continually listened and prayed, and obeyed Him in their confusion, pain, and even doubts. It was fairly evident over the course of a whole history of a nation (Israel) that even with God providing commandments, patience, and ludicrous amounts of mercy that man was not going to be able to change themselves to love God, regardless of their knowledge of the covenants. So, God for told a miracle in the Old Testament that could overturn the radical problem that viciously plagued mankind, sin:

 

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezek. 36:26-28)

 

In response to their constant disobedience and faithlessness, God simply addressed the issue of the human core and traversed it when Jesus died on the cross and when the Holy Spirit applied it to the believers. When Jesus died, the condemnation of all human failure and all worship of false hopes (money, sex, knowledge,etc.) were viciously destroyed for all eternity. (Though, for those who believe, we still are in the process of God prying away the rest of our false hopes) God’s grace and mercy demonstrated to mankind that His glory to be known by mankind entailed God saving some for simply the purpose to fully love, cherish, support, change, and eventually perfect them by the process of knowing (trusting and resting in) God more. This isn’t about changing yourself or trying to love yourself enough that you can flaunt your badges of righteous to your close friends. The whole point of the Gospel (literally meaning, “good news”) is that we can be in a relationship with this God and find everything in Him without worrying about meriting His grace and slaving away to other false hopes. The Gospel means that we can be known because the Father sent Jesus to embrace suffering and know us, despite our animosity toward God. The Gospel means that all our desires for love, community, peace, restoration, healing, and connection with others and God can be realized because God so decided to love, invite us into community, speak peace, provide restoration, heal (and continually renew), and radically change those whom He chooses in our communities to be our new family.

 

This is the Gospel, a radical change of people though the Spirit and sacrifice of Christ for the sole purpose of God receiving praise and glory through us being loved by Him, given rest by Him, and sharing Him with the world by His Power. It is the paradox of God’s pervasive love to mankind simply for His enjoyment, pleasure, and glory.

 

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might *become the righteousness of God*. (2 Cor. 5:16-21, ESV)

 

*“Become the righteousness of God”= become like Jesus, fully honorable and perfect in God’s sight, through His redeeming work on the cross. In essence, it means that we may receive every right and privilege to be in commune with God (like Jesus) because we’ve been made righteous through Jesus.

May we always embrace in the beauty and spectacle of this truth.

 

 

Published inHow People Change

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