Friday, February 27, 2009

What is the Gospel?

I remember as a young teen being impressed with the urgency of "spreading the Gospel", and wondering just exactly what the Gospel is.

I knew the word meant "good news", but all my church upbringing seemed to equate "the Gospel" with the doctrinal tenets of the traditional "Church of Christ" in which I was raised. That is, "the Gospel" was that you needed to hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and live faithfully as a member of the Church of Christ.

Somehow, even then, that didn't quite ring true with me, but I've never quite been able to put my finger on why it wasn't true, or what exactly the Gospel was.

As I matured, my thinking morphed more into the idea that the Gospel was that Jesus saves us from our sins and gets us into heaven, and then later still my thinking morphed to the idea that Jesus will rescue us from "the Curse" which currently is responsible for us getting cancer and run over by trains and hit by lightning and being lame or blind or deaf and losing our favorite pets and eventually dying ourselves.

Yeah, freedom from those things sounds like "good news" to me, but it doesn't make for a very good sound-bite.

Then tonight I came across the Biblical definition, which had been sitting there all my life (and all of the life of the church for the past two-thousand years). It's in Galatians 3:8:
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
The Gospel is that "all the nations shall be blessed in Abraham".

That's it in a nutshell. Now what it means to be "be blessed" leaves plenty of room for discussion, but I now have a working, Biblical definition of "the Gospel". I bless YHWH for this milestone in my life, even if it doesn't "click" for you as it did for me.

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