Confusion & Distortion Regarding the Gospel

When attempting to emphasize the sovereign work by God in salvation there are some who overstate the case and say, “The gospel is not about the Christian; it is about what God accomplished in the Lord Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension; it’s the proclamation about an event that is all about Jesus.” The problem here is in failing to recognize the false either/or. Of course, the gospel is about the Christian; it is about the Christian’s sin, because the gospel is about Jesus saving his people from their sin. The gospel is about the Christian’s changed life, because what Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension result in is him bringing his kingdom now and forevermore. This means, among other things, the transformation of sinners so they become conformed to the image of Jesus so that they are gradually able to obey God more faithfully and are eventually resurrected and glorified. In short, to simply make the gospel about the past historical events accomplished by the Second Person of the Trinity is to isolate him and those events, and to fail to affirm what Scripture says about their organic union to what took place prior to their historical embodiment in the earthly ministry of Jesus, and their organic union to all that took place after them and will continue to unfold through the entire rest of the history of the cosmos; it is to fail to recognize that the Scriptures present all of what Jesus accomplished for his people and in them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5), and as having ongoing results for all eternity that lead to nothing less than the remaking of the entire cosmos. Those who harp on the gospel only being about Jesus and set this off against what took place prior to Jesus’ earthly accomplishments and what took place after it have not only a very narrow and rigid understanding of the gospel, but also operate with a grave distortion of the biblical view of history. It is not at all surprising then that some of these same men have a confused understanding of the continuity of God’s covenant in history, and are confused about the relationship of God’s Law to God’s Gospel.

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