Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gospel in other NT verses

Most definitions of the gospel are centered around Christ on the cross as payment for sin. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is frequently used as a main proof for why this message is the gospel. But are there other verses that may give us a different view of the gospel?

In past posts I've noted that the words 'gospel' or 'good news' show up 23 times in 'the gospels' (mostly pre-cross). And Jesus and His disciples went about preaching the good news of the kingdom (or reign) of God from town to town.

What about the rest of the New Testament?

There are many verses that speak of the early church sharing the gospel with others. Here are a few that may help understand what that gospel message was.

Acts 5:42 (NIV)
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 8:12 (NIV)
But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 10:36 (NIV)
You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Acts 11:20 (NIV)
Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
Acts 13:32-33 (NIV)
"We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:" 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.'
Acts 14:14-16 (NIV)
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: "Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way.
Acts 17:18 (NIV)
A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
Romans 1 (NIV)
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NIV)
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Colossians 1:5-6 (NIV)
the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
1 Thessalonians 2:8-10 (NIV)
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
2 Timothy 2:8 (NIV)
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,
Revelation 14:6-7 (NIV)
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Thoughts? Is it just me who doesn't see all of these references centered on the cross?

Why don't we center the gospel message on "Christ is Lord... Jesus is King... turn from worthless things and worship God... " Yes the work of the cross marked the end to the old covenant, our sins died with Jesus on the cross. The cross provides us life... it is part of the gospel.

Is the main focus on the Jesus of the past, providing a way to be with Jesus in the future?

Or is the main focus on the Jesus of the present wanting to work in and through us now?

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ron cole said...

I think for a lot of the church, faith has died at the cross, and is nothing more than belief...the cross is sort of a bus stop where one waits for a mass exit on the last day. The good news of the cross is to see it as an intersection, in which the redemptive imagination of the resurrection gives rise to endless directions of new possibilities, new creation, new life...the reality of the Kingdom unfolding at the cross. The good news is we can live out this reality now, It's here if we have the eyes to see and the ears to see. In our fragmented, and distorted reading of the gospels, we developed selective seeing and hearing...we've turned the good news into a cheap advertisement for religion.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Ron, I appreciate your thoughts on this. The church is all over the map on this. Good thoughts.