Showing posts with the label Gospel

As Many as He Calls

The Gift of the Spirit is for every man who repents, even to those afar off, and in fulfillment of the promise of the Father . After completing his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter summoned his audience to repent and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.” But something more than a call to accept the Gospel was transpiring - he concluded his sermon on a note of fulfillment and with a foretaste of things to come. The apostle’s sermon began with a citation from the Book of Joel, and he finished it with a clause from the same passage, thus neatly bracketing Peter’s message.

The Gospel Message

The Good News proclaimed by Jesus is  NOT  about reforming society, fixing governments, or the surrounding immoral culture.  HIS  Gospel calls all men to repent and join an entirely new and vastly different social order and political reality, namely, the Kingdom of God. If anything,  HIS  message subverts the political ideologies of this present “ evil age .” Responding positively to his invitation is vital considering the rapidly approaching end of the age when the existing world order will disappear from the Earth.

From Faith For Faith

In Romans , Paul demonstrates that all men have sinned. Jews and Gentiles alike violate God’s revealed will, therefore, no one is or can be justified before Him “ from the works of the Law .” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their conscience yet live and even revel in their sins. So, if no one is set right before God “ from the works of the Law ,” how is anyone “justified” or reconciled with Him?

The Power of God

In Romans , Paul presents his most detailed explanation of the “ Good News of God ,” a message centered on His Son, Jesus Christ. He was dealing with conflicts between Gentiles and Jews in the churches of Rome and preparing the ground for him to take the Gospel to the western regions of the empire. In the process of doing so, he addressed several related topics, including death, redemption, the Law, resurrection, and the New Creation, for the Gospel is the “ power of God for salvation ”  to everyone who believes.

Concerning His Son

Paul begins his letter to the churches of Rome with a lengthy introduction in which he identifies himself and his mission. The calling and “ grace ” of God have equipped the Apostle to preach the Good News “ concerning His son ” and the “ obedience of faith ” among the “ Gentiles .” And in his introduction, he includes a brief description of the messianic qualifications of Jesus of Nazareth, and links what God has done in him to His promises made “ in the prophets ” and now recorded in the “ Holy Scriptures .”

The Mission

Jesus tasked his disciples with announcing the same message that he preached to every nation, the one he summarized as the “ Good News of the Kingdom of God .” In him, God’s rule is being established across the Earth but in unexpected and paradoxical ways. By the day of his return, he will establish his sovereignty over the nations and subdue all his “ enemies ,” including the “ last enemy, death .” Until then, his church is called to be a shining beacon in a world enslaved by sin and death.

Life for the Nations

After his resurrection, Jesus declared, “ All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations! ” As the Lord and Sovereign over all things, he dispatched his disciples as his messengers to proclaim his lordship and the Good News of salvation to the “ uttermost parts of the Earth .”

Only SOME Nations?

Is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God a message of hope for only SOME nations, or is it Good News for all nations and peoples?  Too often in church history, the Gospel has been perverted into Good News for some nations, but apparently bad news for others, or at least for the latter, a less appealing message. And this occurs whenever representatives of the church of the same Jesus who gave his life for the entire world associate and even identify his name and Gospel with certain nations, races, cultures, and political ideologies.

The Living Word

The  Gospel of John  identifies Jesus as the Logos, the “ word ” by which God made all things, a key theme explicated in the body of John’s book. In doing so, he does not engage in metaphysical speculation but builds on traditional ideas found in the Hebrew Bible about how Yahweh created the universe and gave life through His spoken word.  John is not breaking new ground. What is revolutionary is his claim that this life-giving “ word ” is now “ made flesh ” and manifested for all to see in Jesus of Nazareth.

Both Jews and Greeks

Paul wrote his  Letter to the Romans  with two purposes in mind. First, to prepare the ground for his visit to the city and planned a missionary trip to Spain. Second, to deal with conflicts between Jewish and Gentile believers in the churches of Rome. In the Letter’s first half, he explains his Gospel. In the second, he addresses the status of the Jewish people and the specific conflicts in the congregation.

Redemption of the Nations

The  Book of Revelation  presents images that are often jarring and paradoxical, visions that do not conform to popular expectations about how God works or where His redemptive purposes will end. His goals in subjugating His enemies and judging the nations differ radically from many traditional notions and so-called “human wisdom.” Just as his contemporaries did not understand Jesus of Nazareth, so we too often fail to comprehend the “ Slain Lamb ” and how he reigns from the Divine throne.

The Faith of Abraham

In  Genesis , God continues to implement His plan to redeem humanity by establishing the Covenant with Abraham, beginning with His summons for the Patriarch to leave his homeland and sojourn to the “ land that I will show you .” Yahweh would produce a “ great nation ” from him, and the Covenant would bless all the “ tribes of the Earth .” Moreover, from its start, the promise of territory was and remains central to the Abrahamic Covenant.