The Good News of Jesus Christ

..... The word 'Gospel’ comes from an old English word that means ‘good news’, so our first thought may be to ask, "What is the good news?" but if this is our question, we are not really understanding the situation rightly. We should really be thinking in terms of Who is the good news; for the good news of God is found in a Person, Jesus Christ, and not simply in a plan or a spiritual program. The Apostle Paul would put it this way:
.... "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."
(Romans 1:16)
.... The psalmist agreed that the good news was about a person:

.... "I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

(Psalm 118:21-23)

.... So at this most basic stage, let’s focus on the true intention of God in offering us the gospel message. He does not intend to introduce a religious system, a moral code, or a beneficial plan. It’s not about duties and a payoff. All of those concepts speak of arrangements, but God’s intention is much more intimate. He wants something interpersonal, that will utterly transform us as we believe in Jesus, and lead to an ever deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him as time unfolds (2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Ephesians 4:13-15).

.... Our modern minds are rather autonomous and seem to prefer the ‘arrangement’ mentality. We’ve been taught about a ‘Plan’ of salvation rather than a Person of salvation, so this concept may seem strange to us. Therefore, let’s offer a parable to define it further:

.... A young woman married a man from a wealthy country. Because of her marriage, she became a citizen of that country -- but in his culture this arrangement was viewed in a special way. Instead of issuing her a second citizenship that was exactly the same as his, his own citizenship was expanded to include her. In this way she fully receives every benefit of the kingdom through her union with her husband, by virtue of his birthright in the land.
.. In the same way, it has pleased the Father that in Christ all the fullness should dwell and we are espoused to Him through believing in the gospel (Colossians 1:19; 2 Corinthans 11:2). Through this we become one spirit with Him and we receive a new citizenship that is in no way autonomous (1 Corinthians 6:17; Philippians 3:20).
.
.... It is only through this relationship, by our abiding in Him, that every benefit may be fully realized, as the scope of His life expands to include ourselves -- yet always in terms of His very own life, and we in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20).

For the next lesson, click here

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 7

4 Comments:

  • In Luke 2:29,30, Simeon took the baby Jesus into his arms and said, "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation . . .”

    Jesus is called ‘the salvation of God’ though He had not yet shed His blood on the cross. Salvation is not simply in the act of the crucifixion, but in the Person of Jesus Himself, the One who was crucified. (Shedding His blood allowed His salvation to extend to us.)

    Also, Jesus had not yet uttered a word of teaching, so that the essence of salvation cannot be found in adherence to a doctrinal system. In its most basic form, Jesus Himself is the salvation of God, and we are saved by abiding in Him. Doctrines exist for the purpose of introducing us to this relationship, enriching it, and correcting it where necessary to keep it pure (2 Tim 3:16).

    "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39)

    By Blogger loren, at 4/15/2005 2:38 AM  

  • As Christians, we need to understand the concept of ‘works’ (arrangements) differently. Rather than doing good works in order to have a relationship with God, it is inverted. Because we have a relationship with God, good works will follow in our lives naturally, just as good fruit would grow naturally from a good tree. In other words the fruit flows from the relationship, not the other way around.

    By Blogger loren, at 4/15/2005 2:38 AM  

  • The relationship we have with Christ is entirely subordinate in nature (He is Lord of all,) and this is one reason the modern mind set doesn’t warm to it so readily. We have a deplorable lack of trust. We don’t want someone else to be in charge of our salvation; we want to control it ourselves, perhaps by mastering a doctrinal system or some other form of study; or it might be alright for God to be in control, as long as there is a succession of powerful wonders to keep amazing us:

    “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:22-24)

    The wisdom and power that is in the gospel is actually very deep and exceedingly powerful, but in God’s way instead of our own. This is another reason we must trust in Him by our faith.

    By Blogger loren, at 4/15/2005 2:39 AM  

  • Loren,

    I love what you wrote in your comments! Especially the reference in Luke 2:29,30. I hadn't realized that it could be linked to John 5:39 (my favorite scripture!) but it seems to me they do connect profoundly.

    "...for my eyes have seen Your salvation." and "...for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." WOW.

    God, please give us grace to forsake our independence from truly trusting Jesus for Your salvation and not just some formula. Amen

    By Anonymous marywannabe, at 7/23/2006 9:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home