When you think of the gospel, what comes to mind? Do you think of a simple illustration that begins with God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life? Or perhaps you think about the Easter story involving the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Often it is viewed as an “entry point” into life in the Christian community. But perhaps the gospel is larger than that.
I think of the gospel as God’s grand story of redemption. It originates in the wisdom of God before anything we know has been created. Our first glimpse of this story is in the garden when Adam and Eve fall for the lie of Satan and chose to disobey. Alienation and death resulted and was passed on to each of us. Paul, a follower of Christ tells us that the gospel reveals a righteousness that comes from God, a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last. God exchanged Adams leaves for clothing that covered his shame, but it also covered his transgression. There was a way back into fellowship with God!
The gospel is God’s story of bringing people back into relationship with Himself. It is a demonstration of His love for man, and an exercise of His grace and mercy. God is making all things new; or as C.S. Lewis says: “Aslan is on the move!” This is not a New Testament story, it fills the pages of all of the Scriptures. It begins in Genesis and marches its way through to the Revelation. Perhaps we don’t see it because it is masked by what we view as “natural events”, like a promise given to an old man and his wife, or the strange request made to the same man to offer his son as a sacrifice; but there is always more to the story than what we read. If we peak between the pages; we can begin to see the unfolding drama of God’s redemption story. But it’s hard to see because it is hidden in plain sight. We are, as it is often stated; overcome by the events that surround us and fail to see the hand of God at work.
The story of the gospel centers around the rescue of those who are lost, though they don’t recognize their dilemma. It is the story of a promise that has been offered, but that can only be received by faith. It is a promise that is extended to all; not only to the most vile and despicable, but also to us, who are presentable and ok in public. There is no one outside the reach of its redemptive powers.
But how is the story heard by those who are not listening? Again I reach into C.S. Lewis and his description in “The Magician’s Nephew” about creation: it begins as a song; just a faint whisper barely discernible to our ears, but it grows ever more present as we give our attention to the one singing. The same is true of the gospel today. It begins perhaps, as acts of righteousness that represent a change of heart of those who are seeking Jesus. Perhaps it is acts of kindness, generosity, and love, that kindle a curiosity. Perhaps it is sharing our life among friends in all its joys and struggles. Perhaps it is answering a friends question about why I believe in God. Perhaps it is through defending your faith. Perhaps it is just showing up and living life together. Regardless of how it is first detected; it will always be through relationship. The story of the gospel is about relationship! Man was created by God for relationship. First of all, relationship with Him; but also relationship with one another. Without redemption; there is no promise of relationship!
But the gospel also addresses how we live as followers of Christ today. Those who are made righteous, and called to live righteously. But this is for another day!
This grand story of redemption is entrusted to us! It is our privilege. Broken, chipped, and somewhat flawed clay pots that we are; God’s great drama of redemption is being manifest through us. What are your thoughts about the gospel. How would you describe it to someone who is unversed in the claims of Christ? Would it be “Good News!”