The Gospel, if we will let it, tells us what is eternal and soul satisfying.
It tells us the truth of who we are, who we were meant to be, who we’ve become and who we can be someday. The Gospel – the truth of God, the saving resurrection of Jesus Christ, the illumination and comfort of the Holy Spirit – is at once personal and specific, and concentrically as big as the entirety of the divinely created cosmos.
The Gospel, the “Good News,” is news about a person and an event upon which the history of the planet – and every person on it – turns. We were made in the image of God, we were designed to be His glory, we fell in sin from that exalted place, and Jesus Christ came in human flesh to restore our communion with Father God Almighty.
And as sin fractured God’s creation (Romans 1:23) and caused not only the fall of man but the perpetual groaning of the entire universe, the Gospel is God’s plenipotentiary message of promise that man is saved, death is crushed and the universe will be restored to the good glory that is the Lord’s alone.
Wow … that’s big. That’s the “my-cup-runneth-over” fullness of the Gospel and unimaginable bigness of a faithful relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s what God wants for us. That’s what the Bible says. That’s what Jesus says. That’s what the Gospel is all about: God’s eternal, enormous, glorious, loving intention for us.
But, we are so satisfied with less.
In fact, generally, we are thrilled with less. Blessed with God-ordained freedom either to participate in the cosmic restoration of all things by following Christ in faith, or to engage merely in the pursuit of fleeting physical fancy – of eternal vs. temporary – c’mon, temporary is so much less complicated. We can see the temporary, and nobody thinks we’re weird. Small is just fine. We don’t have to explain faith in “bigness” that others may detect in our actions but most likely won’t understand.
Unless, of course, they have the same faith.
Matt Chandler’s new book, “The Explicit Gospel,” does Christian faith a stellar service by describing the real Gospel amid the spurious here-and-now of modern social religion. Just as God is often reduced to “god” when religious worship is more about human comforts than God’s glory, so too does the Gospel shrink to the “gospel” when it is fractured and divided to accommodate contemporary political/cultural agendas.
In Chandler’s hands, the Gospel isn’t political or temporary; it’s big and eternal.