For two millennia Christians have heralded an unchanging message. Many today are familiar with the term ‘gospel’, some may know what is usually tagged to the term, but few grasp the profundity and pervasiveness of such a message. Evangelicals love to qualify church programs/initiatives with the hyphenated phrase “gospel-centered”. For as much mileage as the phrase gets, I am continually astounded at how little of the gospel people understand, myself included. This blog is not a rant. My aim is to expound the gospel with its weighty doctrine and far-reaching application so that readers will be better equipped to worship Jesus in light of it, shape their lives around it, and share it with others. My method will be to unpack various concise statements of the gospel message from the New Testament applied to different churches in different places dealing with different issues.
I recently became aware (thanks to an insightful sister-in-law) of a helpful distinction that may be made when speaking about the gospel. Essentially, there are two ways that the term may be used: (1) the particular events which make up the gospel, ie. that which is contained in the first four books of the New Testament; (2) the gospel events unpacked, ie. why the events are significant. To begin, it is essential that readers know what events are entailed in the gospel scheme.
while the gospel scheme is more than this, it is not less:
– Jesus created the world (John 1:3; Col. 1:16)
– Jesus came to live in the world (John 1:9-11, 14)
– Jesus lived a life free of sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5)
– Jesus was killed on a cross (Mat. 27:24-50; Mk 15:1-37, 44, 45; Lk. 23:33-46; Jn. 19:16-30)
– Jesus was buried (Mat. 27:59, 65,66; Mk. 15:46; Lk. 23:52-53; Jn. 19: 40, 42)
– Jesus was raised from the dead (Mat. 28:5-6; Mk 16:6; Lk. 24:5-7; Jn. 20:5-9)
– Jesus appeared in a physical body to a bunch of people (Mat. 28:9, 17; Lk. 24:31, 36-39; Jn. 20:14, 19-20)
– Jesus ascended into the clouds (Acts 1:9)
Stay tuned for future posts unpacking the weightiness of the gospel event.