Video of interest: http://vimeo.com/25058865
Truly, I respect and appreciate where these three brothers are coming from on the whole, however, they demonstrate quite well the concern raised in a few of my previous posts (actually the last, third, and fourth to last posts). More about that in a moment.
Again, there’s much here to be appreciated. They do a fine job in this video and the other ones they’ve posted at Vimeo. There’s a great deal of clarity on what the-Gospel-proper is and isn’t, striving to keep the root distinct from the fruit. And yet, the concern is with comments regarding the “moral law” and its relationship to the Gospel.
There’s this assumption that’s made, what some would describe as a “third use” of the Law. That, the Gospel itself calls us (believers) to “keep the Law.” Beginning right around the 4:27 mark, the discussion takes an interesting turn. The idea of “balance” is espoused, that the Bible puts forth the Gospel but then gives us commands (Law) so that we can see what the fruit of the Gospel looks like. This conversation goes further to say that, the commands don’t change, the moral law of God doesn’t change…but now because of the Gospel, you now have the Holy Spirit in you and empowering you to now live like Jesus was living…but God’s law is unchanging. The Law remains the tracks that the Gospel now pushes us along. Preach the commands, but also the Gospel so that by it people can obey the commands.
There’s a fair amount of talk these days about being Gospel-Driven, and some of it is to be appreciated. My question is: “In what “gear” are we driven BY the Gospel?” It seems as if too much of what’s said is in “first gear,” not getting deeper than critical application to justification and sanctification. Aren’t there more gears than this or do we see it as just a Forward & Reverse setup?
The Christian needs to know not only how the Gospel applies to them, but to the WHOLE counsel of God. It’s not only our holiness but our entire hermeneutic, homiletic, etc. that needs to be shaped (driven) by the Gospel, Christ-event. Otherwise, these things are essentially other than Christian, being rooted in/driven by something other than Christ, his Spirit and counsel.
How deep is the Gospel-driven into you? We will only be as Gospel-driven FOR the Gospel as we are Gospel-driven BY the Gospel.
Is some of this “gospel-driven” stuff just idle-talk? If so, the phrase will tend to wear-out with using.
The notion of Gospel-centered-ness can tend to be a mere abstraction, if we’re not careful. Careful enough to grasp the Gospel’s center.
What is the Gospel’s center…focal point (person)? You? Me? Neighbor? Church? Culture?
How we answer this is critical, otherwise we end up with a gospel that centers on something other, which is another Gospel. And if that ends up being the case, we end up with something other than Gospel-centered perspective on faith and life.
Friend, the Gospel is not about you and me. Sorry, it’s true. The Gospel is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, come in the flesh, in perfect righteousness, in a willful propitious death, having risen from the dead, and ascended unto the Throne of God. This is THE Good News!
It’s a proclamation about one Person that’s made all the difference, for those who believe he’s done just that. Otherwise, the so-called gospel we hold onto is about something/someone else, leaving us to ourselves to work things out for ourselves.
In turning from the plain truth of Jesus Christ as crucified for sin, though having begun by believing the Gospel message, Christians can be found soon resorting to “Law keeping” as the means of continued growth in Christ. At this sort of thing, St. Paul was so absolutely astounded that he was nearly at a total loss as to what to say! “You fools, who has beguiled you?”
The apostolic inquiry:
On what basis does God give you spiritual strength, working mightily among you?
a) Works: performance (an obedience of Christians to the Law)
b) Faith: believing and relying upon the Gospel (the obedience of Christ to the Law)
The Gospel itself—the preaching of Jesus Christ, the ancient secret now revealed—is God’s eternal command that brings about the obedience of faith! (see Rom 16:25-26)
This Gospel is an effectual, creative word, bringing life (obedience even) to all who are made to believe it to be such.
Central to this Gospel is the righteousness of God having been manifested apart from the Law—though the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—that is, the righteousness of God as both displayed and earned by Jesus himself. A righteousness is revealed which is imputed to all who rely solely upon Christ’s finished work of earning glory. (Rom 3:21-22)
Unfortunately, a greater part of Protestantism tends to limit the preaching of the Gospel to unbelievers. However, Rom. 1:11-12 presents us with the reality of the Gospel being preached to believers, for by it spiritual strengthening is given (a further cultivation of a faith the Gospel initializes).
Moreover, the Gospel proclaims and possesses:
The Gospel…CENTERS UPON THE SON, who is the:
a) Incarnate One
according to the flesh descending from David; and
b) Crucified & Resurrected One
according to the Spirit declared the Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead.
The Gospel does not ‘center upon’ but is ‘applied to’ the Church.
So much for our spiritual resumes which pose as Gospel witness.
Central to the Gospel —> the righteousness of God having been manifested apart from the Law—though the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—that is, the righteousness of God as both displayed and earned by Jesus himself. A righteousness that is imputed to all who rely solely upon Christ’s finished work of earning glory (Rom 3:21-22).
The Gospel is “of first importance” because by it, men both:
a) obtain the kingdom and righteousness of God; and
b) sustain growth within the kingdom (“are being saved”).
We live in a time when there is a great deal of confusion regarding what the Gospel is and how it works. We know this was the case in apostolic times as well. In fact, throughout the New Testament, the apostles had to continually remind the people of God of the most basic truths, to include defining again and again the Gospel itself. This is due to the fact that the Gospel is not intuitive to the natural state of man, and therefore one cannot suppose even those who are regenerate will always be mindful of what the Gospel is and how it works. The apostles did not “assume” people intuitively knew these essential elements of the faith, nor can we “assume” that about the Church today.