God & Gospel
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away“ (Luke 21:33).
2 Timothy 3:16-17 states “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
One of my favorite non biblical quotes comes from Dr. Ted Tripp- “It is the Gospel that gives perspective, identity, and empowerment for daily living. All problems with sin that we experience in daily living come from failing to maintain the functional centrality of the Gospel. This is liberating truth!”
What does Gospel mean?
In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion (occurring 76 times) “good news,” and the verb euangelizo (occurring 54 times), meaning “to bring or announce good news.” Both words are derived from the noun angelos, “messenger.” In classical Greek, an euangelos was one who brought a message of victory or other political or personal news that caused joy. In addition, euangelizomai (the middle voice form of the verb) meant “to speak as a messenger of gladness, to proclaim good news.” Further, the noun euangelion became a technical term for the message of victory.
The Gospel in a Nutshell
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the
*appearances of the resurrected Christ.
Note the four clauses introduced by that in bold type in verses 3-5 below:
15:1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…
These verses, which were an early Christian confession, give us the heart of the gospel and show that the resurrection is an integral part of the gospel. Note that Paul described this as “of first importance”—a phrase that stresses priority, not time. The stress is on the centrality of these truths to the gospel message.
Actually, the central ingredient of the gospel message is a two-fold confession: (1) Christ died for our sins and (2) He was raised on the third day. The reality of these two elements can be verified by the Scriptures (cf. Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53:8-10) and by such awesome historical evidence as the empty tomb and the eye witnesses. Thus, the other two elements mentioned here accomplish two important facts regarding the gospel. The fact that He was buried verified His death, and the fact that He appeared to others verified His resurrection.
What does the Gospel mean for me?
In summary,the gospel is the message of the good news of salvation, the word of truth offered to mankind by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is a message not only of eternal life, but one that encompasses the total plan of God to redeem people from the ravages of sin, death, Satan and the curse that now covers the earth. (Bible.org)
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture
The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture. Therefore, it is true (Psalm 119:142) and altogether reliable (Hebrews 6:18). It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Isaiah 55:10–11). It is pure, like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Psalm 12:6). It is sanctifying (John 17:17). It gives life (Psalm 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Matthew 4:4). It makes wise (Psalm 19:7; 119:99–100). It gives joy (Psalm 19:8; 119:16, 92, 111, 143, 174) and promises great reward (Psalm 19:11). It gives strength to the weak (Psalm 119:28) and comfort to the distraught (Psalm 119:76) and guidance to the perplexed (Psalm 119:105) and salvation to the lost (Psalm 119:155; 2 Timothy 3:15). The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible.
How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
“The love of Christ constrains us, since we have made this judgment, that one died for all; therefore all died. And he died for all in order that the ones who live might no longer live for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
What does it mean to be a Christian? Charles Hodge sees the answer in this text: “It is being so constrained by a sense of the love of our divine Lord to us, that we consecrate our lives to him.”
Being a Christian does not mean merely believing in our head that Christ died for us. It means “being constrained” by that reality. The truth presses in on us; it grips and holds; it impels and controls. It surrounds us and won’t let us run from it. It cages us into joy.
But how does it do that? Paul says that the love of Christ for him constrains him because of a judgment that he formed about that death. “. . . having made this judgment, that one died for all therefore all died.” Paul became a Christian not when he decided that Christ died for sinners, but when he made the sober judgment that the death of Christ was also the death of all for whom he died.
In other words, becoming a Christian is coming to believe not only that Christ died for all his people, but that all his people died when he died. Becoming a Christian is, first, asking the question: Am I ready to be persuaded that Christ died for me and I died in him? Am I ready to die that I might live? Then, secondly, becoming a Christian means answering, Yes, from the heart.
The love of Christ constrains us to answer, Yes. We feel so much love flowing to us from Christ’s death that we discover in his death our death — our death to all other competing allegiances. We are so overwhelmed (“constrained”) by the love of Christ that the world fades, as before dying eyes.
A Christian is a person living under the constraint of Christ’s love. Christianity is not merely believing a set of ideas about Christ’s love. It is an experience of being constrained by that love.
But that constraint comes from a “judgment” that we make about Christ’s death: “When he died, I died.” It is a profound judgment. “As the sin of Adam was legally and effectively the sin of his race; so the death of Christ was legally and effectively the death of his people” (Hodge). And since our death has already happened, we do not bear that condemnation (Romans 8:1-3). And that is the heart of the love of Christ for us. Through his own undeserved death, he died our well-deserved death.
And therefore that “judgment” that we make about his death results in being “constrained” by his love. How shall we not live for the one who died our death that we might live! To be a Christian is to be that constrained by the love of Christ. Here is the way Charles Hodge put it again:
A Christian is one who recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, as God manifested in the flesh, loving us and dying for our redemption; and who is so affected by a sense of the love of this incarnate God as to be constrained to make the will of Christ the rule of his obedience, and the glory of Christ the great end for which he lives.
Constrained by His love,
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
The difference between a Christian and non-Christian: When a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.”
Mark Dever at the 2009 Desiring God Conference for Pastors.