Sunday, September 11, 2005

What is the Gospel?

[Some anonymous person asked what the gospel is in a comment box. It's worth answering in a separate thread.]

It is that God has punished your sins --- sins that should merit your damnation --- in the person of Jesus Christ, so that you may be freely accounted as righteous in God's sight through faith alone. As a consequence, you are at peace with God, receiving in turn the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And not only this, you are an heir to His eternal kingdom that is to be established at the eschaton.

See Rom 1:16-17, 3:21-28, the argument given in Rom 4, 5:1-11, and, so I'd say, all of Rom 8. Actually, a detailed study of Romans will fully explain the gospel.

John 3:16 is much more brief, but it is about as handy a slogan as one can have.

In literature, Christian in Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress had the burden [which neither he nor anybody could remove] on his back fall off on its own accord upon gazing at the cross. Note that Bunyan's book has the added distinction of being abbreviated as "PP" --- no coincidence there...

*********************Excerpt from The Pilgrim's Progress*********
The Cross

Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called "Salvation".

"In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks."
~ Isaiah 26:1 ~

Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.

Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart,

"He hath given me rest by his sorrow,
And life by his death."

Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
~ Zechariah 12:10 ~

Now, as he stood looking and weeping, behold three shining ones came to him, and saluted him with, "Peace be to thee!" so the first said to him, "Thy sins be forgiven thee";

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
~ Mark 2:5 ~

the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment;

"And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment."
~ Zechariah 3:4 ~

the third also set a mark in his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it,

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise"
~ Ephesians 1:13 ~

which he bade him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the Celestial Gate: so they went their way. Then CHRISTIAN gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing:

"Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither. What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss!
Must here the burden fall from off my back!
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack!
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!"

**********************************End excerpt


Blogger Jason Engwer said...

That was well said. And shame on those today who are claiming that it's not of much significance whether we attain that salvation through faith alone or through a lifetime of faith combined with alleged works of grace. Sola fide isn't the entirety of the gospel, but it surely is an important part of it, with major implications for the believer and for society.

Jason Engwer
New Testament Research Ministries

Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

If I had to make up my own religion, I wouldn't have justification-by-faith-alone in it, since that seems on the surface too cheap, too easy, too flimsy. I'd have a strict code of do-this-and-be-saved.

However, I'm not God, and God has put things forth in a seemingly clear fashion in scripture. We are justified freely on the basis of our faith. I, a sinner, stand before God as righteous, despite myself.

It doesn't fit my intuition, but then many other things don't either that are clearly revealed in scripture. Scripture is quite long on the phenomena it presents but quite short on the mechanisms behind the phenomena.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 5:03:00 PM  

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