This is part 2 in a series, “What Matters Most.” Part 1 can be found here.
Recently I heard someone say, “It’s not all about the gospel.” This caused me to think through the scope and implications of a term I use so often—the gospel. If we reduce the gospel down to salvation or the events of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, then I think a person might conclude that there has to be more to Christianity than just that. But, I do not see how we can reduce the gospel in such a way.
I see the gospel as the full person and work of Christ from eternity to eternity with all of its implications for us. It is more than a matter of our justification; it is also about how we live and what we are called to do. For Paul, his separation to the gospel was seen in his theology, life, and message. If we believe Christ to be God; our creator, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, and the one to whom we will ultimately give account, then we will see this good news from eternity to eternity. While the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ prove to be the centerpiece of the story, everything flows from Him, through Him, and to Him (Romans 11:36).
We must, however, be careful. There are other ways to be overly simplistic, even shallow. If we answer in a pious tone, “It’s all about the gospel,” to everything we are asked, we can push off serious thinking or discussion. Thabiti Anyabwile last week had an excellent post on this very problem, “I’m Tired of Hearing “The ‘Gospel’ Warning: Mild Rant).”
I have referred to Galatians several times in previous posts. Paul is fiercely adamant about the gospel, and makes it very clear that we have to get this right. He shows how this effects both justification and sanctification. It is a warning about both. The same gospel that saves us from sin and gives us eternal life is the same gospel that fuels the Christian life on earth. It is a doctrine of grace, through faith, evidencing itself in love.
Yes, when it comes to Christianity in its fullest sense, it IS all about the gospel!