Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gospel Definitions

I want to think the Gospel, tell the Gospel, and ultimately live the Gospel. That's all there is to it. Tim Keller says that "the gospel is to be applied to every area of thinking, feeling, relating, working, and behaving."

Let's not make the mistake of thinking that's simple and easy. We're striving upstream, going against much that is deeply rooted in our own nature. To talk about doing any of this without the acknowledgement of our utter dependence on the Holy Spirit is simply to shape the old legalism into a kinder-sounding and gentler-sounding package of words.

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I've been on the look-out for how people define the content of this Biblical term, "gospel." I recently heard Tim Keller's definition, and love it for its being both succinct and highly inclusive.
“The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.”
A pretty good definition, but it is in fact different than the commonplace definition that is entirely concerned with the cross-work of Jesus. Still, it is I believe something closer to the New Testament definition than that.

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Last week I was pressed for time and left my Mark post with a question about Jesus' 40 days in the desert. What difference does that make for me, I wondered. Why is it important?

I said I'd spend some time thinking that over, but in fact I haven't. So the question stands. Jesus, immediately after the Holy Spirit descended upon him at his baptism in the Jordan, was driven by that Spirit into the desert, where he was assailed by Satan and ministered to by angels. Why does that matter?

I'll try to address that question next week.

1 comment:

nance said...

I just read a bit of the 40 days this morning. I was hungry for some red letter words. I see that you were thinking of this in October, and here it is the end of November. But, hey...that's the way it goes. It takes time for people to catch up in some cases.