Do We Need a Gospel Revolution?
Recently I was asked, “Why are you so passionate about the centrality of the first coming of Jesus? Why do you continue to promote the importance of the resurrection? I would think that by this age you have moved on to other subjects of relevance.”
I think that question is illustrative of the confusion in our culture about the role of the gospel. We tend to think as children of the enlightenment. In fact, our culture would probably affirm that the greatest progressive jump in history was the enlightenment. It was then that mankind came of age. Reason and science became the authoritative influence in every aspect of life.
We have concluded that any solution to earth’s problems will be provided by man’s ingenuity. Accordingly, the message of the Bible, climaxing in the exaltation of Jesus as Lord, has been pushed to the periphery and catalogued as mildly important, but certainly not essential for human flourishing.
If the story of Jesus is viable at all, it is to give some sense of inner peace and some hope of life after death. Sadly, much of the church has settled for this message and left the managing of the creation to those who at best tolerate the gospel but commonly disregard it as primitive myth.
Enlightened Through the Gospel of Jesus
Though I am grateful for the advances humanity has made since the Dark Ages, I am firmly convinced that it was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that is the most transforming event in history. In fact, it was the light emanating from the gospel of Jesus that gave birth to enlightenment. Only the gospel dispels the darkness that surrounds the rule of evil and liberates humans.
Our God is the creator and sustainer of creation.
When Jesus came out of the grave, a new creation was launched. A new race began. Those who believed in him were born again as children of the new order. Now, we Christians are continuing to confront the decaying old creation with the newness of being in Christ. There are earthly problems that can’t be solved by human initiative alone, and we are witnesses to a reality that includes the invisible and visible; the present and the future. We are connected to the Lord of the new creation that is displacing the old. We have his promise that he is with us now and shall return to culminate his purposes on earth.
Our God, the Sustainer
We cannot afford to proclaim a gospel that is merely an addendum to life. We will not consent to only addressing the “religious” (interpreted as non-essential) aspects of living. If the gospel as presented in the New Testament is anything, it is the most important thing. It effects every aspect of our existence. It deserves our full attention and absolute loyalty.
Because we whole-heartedly embrace the gospel, we refuse any attempts to force others to adopt our view. We believe it will stand its ground against every foe. We can live in a pluralistic society without fear of being overwhelmed, simply because we trust the power of God as it is released through the gospel. We gladly present our witness on any stage of inquiry. Those views that depend on the state to enforce compliance are admitting that their god is too small to change people.
I believe there is a gospel revolution beginning. Let’s pray to that end.
Our God is the creator and sustainer of creation. His word will not return to him without accomplishing what he sent it to do. He has sent his Son to deal with the problem of human sin and its consequences. Through his death and resurrection, he has launched a new creation that can bring restoration to all things he desires to restore. He has graciously identified the way of life. It is narrow but distinct and sure. All who enter through Jesus get to the Father. All who try another way will ultimately be disappointed.
A Gospel Revolution
I believe there is a gospel revolution beginning. Let’s pray to that end. It will result in blessings for all. The benefits of salt and light extend to all the society even when there are many who have not yet seen the light of glory in the face of Jesus. But the challenge is to those whose eyes have been opened by God’s grace.
The gospel must be proclaimed and demonstrated. We cannot hide it under a bushel or conceal it in our thoughts. It is for everyone, so we must give it away, but we must never dilute it or be embarrassed by it. It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)