bits from bob....
Thinking about the Gospel...Again
by Robert J. Young
March 7, 2003
©, 2003, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
In Christianity, two questions that must be addressed are "What is the gospel? Why is it important?"
It is obvious (at least to me) that different people will give different answers to these questions. For non-Christians, the gospel is foolishness, not wisdom; weakness, not power. The view of the gospel held by those outside of Christ, those with little or no spiritual interest, is not flattering. For them, the gospel is not desirable. Those who have read Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1 are not surprised. Certainly, the gospel gives no cause for human boasting. For God, the gospel is wisdom and power (1 Cor. 2:2). Paul writes that the fundamentals of the gospel are of primary importance, and have the ability to save when remembered and followed. These fundamentals are the death, burial, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances of Jesus (1 Cor. 15).
This text makes clear that the gospel has priority. The gospel is of first importance. Consider why this is so.
- 1. The gospel is Christ-centered. With Christ as its subject, the gospel is about the most important person in all the history of the world.
- 2. The gospel is to be preached. The message is so worthy and worthwhile that it should be continually told and retold.
- 3. The gospel is to be remembered, the gospel is powerful for salvation. The gospel is worth remembering; the gospel has the ability and power to save eternally. Thus the gospel transcends this world.
- 4. The gospel is biblical, consistent with Old Testament Scripture and prophecy. The gospel does not depend upon itself for its witness and veracity. The Old Testament writers spoke in advance of the significance of the gospel.
- 5. The gospel is historical; it belongs in the public domain. The events recorded in the gospel did not occur in secret. The existence of a man named Christ is verified by historians of his day. These were public events, and are worthy of evidence submitted in the public forums of our day. If religion has been relegated to the private realm in our culture, the importance of the gospel demands that we return it to the public arena for display, proof, and debate.
- 6. The gospel is a saving gospel. It is theological, related to God and related to salvation. The gospel is ultimately about God, and about the relationship of humankind to God. Thus it is eternal, and deals with the most important topics in this world and in the world to come.
- 7. The gospel is apostolic. The gospel is more than secular history, the gospel is attested by those specific representatives of God who were entrusted with his word and proclaiming his word. This is an ancient message.
- 8. The gospel is personal. The real importance of the gospel is seen only when we make it personal. If the gospel remains impersonal, unapplied truth on a shelf or in a book, the gospel is not of primary importance to that person.
Is the gospel important to you? Think about it, and act like it.
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Last updated March 7, 2003.