What is the Gospel?
Have you really thought about what the Gospel is and is not?
Here is your fair warning – you may not like the result and what it means for your life.
Is the Gospel something that offers us only comfort and security? Is it something that confirms our beliefs and matches up with what we believe about the world? Is it something that matches up with our political stances nice and neatly? Is it something that never addresses touchy subjects? Is it something that never addresses controversial topics? Is it something that never challenges us? Is it something that is can be claimed but makes no other claims on our lives? It is something that is never political, but only used as a weapon in the ongoing partisan political wars for power over people?
There are many who proclaim this type of gospel. There have been many who have proclaimed this message for many centuries. It’s the gospel of don’t rock the boat. It’s the gospel of comforting the comforted and ignoring the afflicted. It’s the gospel which is used as a weapon for political expediency. It is a gospel that is not the foundation of life, but merely just another tool to be used to our own ends.
The Gospel was never meant to be comfortable. It is uncomfortable and inconvenient. It is radical in nature because it flips the world right side up. The Gospel calls into question our loyalties and allegiances. It smacks us in the face more often than we prefer. We try to put it away when it becomes uncomfortable and is in conflict with our preferences and beliefs.
The Gospel isn’t about membership – it is about discipleship. It’s not safe – it risks bringing the world’s shame on itself. It’s not wrapped in any flag, any nation, or any politician – it supersedes all of these things. It is not the avoidance of death, but rather calls us to death.
But the Gospel is more than a political platform for some political party. It is more than just some nice sounding rhetoric that we can voice and then set aside and do what we were doing. It is a message of life – transformed life, renewed life, restored life. It is a message of resurrection – that which comes after death. The Gospel calls us to death – death of our egos, our loyalties, our desire to be right, our judgements, our separation from others, our ideologies, our desire to be strong and mighty, our sins, our brokenness.
When we encounter the Gospel, it changes our lives in uncomfortable and lasting ways. And it causes conflict. The conflict arises because the world’s ways are revealed to be empty promises that lead and end with death. And the world doesn’t want us to see this for what it is.
It is only in the death of these things that resurrection can happen – where the Gospel is truly revealed. And the resurrection that Jesus offers is life giving. Where else are we to go to receive this kind of life?
The answer is this – no where.