Thursday, January 18, 2007

What Is The Gospel?

What is the Gospel? It is forgiveness when I have been foolish. It is clemency when I have been conceited. It is mercy when I have been murderous. It is God’s protection against my self-preservation. It is God doing the impossible and in doing so he makes much more possible.

What is the Gospel? It is the shocking news that God changes what we know. It is hope for childless parents. It is the favor shown to a slick, self-indulgent scoundrel. It is God sticking with the scoundrel and ushering him into a cosmic agenda greater than he could have imagined. It is the blessing of a new, unstained name. It is the vindication of the golden boy who is unfairly criticized and mistreated. It is mercy and provision for jealous critics. It is freedom from tyrants and liberation from captivities that make us less than human.

What is the Gospel? It is God’s forbearance when I have been forgetful. It is God’s extreme patience when I have been downright stupid. It is God’s willingness to listen to my prayers and maybe even be convinced by them.

What is the Gospel? It is God using me to bless others. It is God entrusting an ordinary, average person with the care and protection of precious souls. It is God graciously not “stripping me of rank” when I abuse my authority. It is God not taking me away from my people or taking them away from me. It is God standing close by even when I know I have failed him. It is God cleansing my heart from the scum of sin.

What is the Gospel? It is God giving wisdom for nothing but the asking. It is the promise that punishment does not last forever. It is the promise that things will get better. It is the restoration of hopes and dreams. It is the joy of hard work doing what God has called you to do. It is purpose that gives meaning to struggle.

What is the Gospel? It is hope within scandal. It is the underclass turning the world over. It is a new reality of a world ruled by this same God. It is a king who fights for me. It is the death sentence for death and the end of evil. It is an “in-your-face” humiliation of the destroyer. It is the old and dying born again. It is the beginning of eternity.

What is the Gospel? It is you and I living in peace and truly made friends. It is my loved ones and I no longer afraid of others. It is the freedom to be a slave. It is the wealth of sacrificing. It is the abundance of self-denial. It is a God who does the impossible and in doing so makes much more possible. The gospel is hope kept alive, happiness restored, and love enduring forever.

What is the Gospel? Just when we have known the evil that we thought would never happen, the gospel is the good we thought could never be possible.

1 comment:

Wade Tannehill said...


Good post. Gospel defined not merely academically, but experientially. I'm especially struck by the number of paradoxes in the next-to-last paragraph: "the freedom to be a slave, the wealth of sacrificing, the abundance of self-denial," etc. Good stuff. Sounds like what Jesus taught.

It was good to see you (and hear you)during my trip to West-Ark on Christmas Eve. You may recall that I was one of those guys they sent to school years ago. It dawned on me that our first meeting was at ACU. We were in the same graduation ceremony. You getting a doctorate and me a masters.