Much is said; precious little is essential.
According to the theology of the apostle Paul, he was not interested in dwelling upon popular aberrations of religion. His ministry, his life, and his devotion prostrated itself only before “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).
There is no gospel aside from the biblically defined Christ and the transforming effect of the Cross. In short, the core of the gospel is about who Jesus is and what he has done.
Because Scripture says it is possible to accept a Jesus other than that taught by the Apostles, the essential nature of the who needs to be succinctly defined. Again, we are not left to our own devices:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel. (2 Tim 2:8)
We are informed, by comparing this passage with Rom 1:4, that the resurrection of Christ was the definitive sign that he was God. We are then also told, without excess verbiage, that he was truly human. In other words, Paul declares that the essence of who Jesus is can be described uniquely as the God/Man!
That belief is foundational to the gospel. It is the reason our Lord questioned his disciples on who they believed him to be. It was also the singular fulcrum upon which Jesus silenced his detractors when he asked them how it could be that the Messiah was the son of David (man), when David had called him his Lord (God).
Any doctrine, sermon, writing, or belief that professes to uphold the New Covenant gospel must promote these distinctions without compromise. The message of Christianity is only good news if it actively declares Jesus as eternally God and fully man, and if it establishes our hope upon the pivotal events surrounding his crucifixion.
The sub-chapter on the Gospel provoked these observations in our study of Wineskins.
In addition to reviewing what the Bible has to say, I have shared with my wife and kids my own limited attempt at representing the gospel with little fan-fare. It is intended to spark consideration of the essentials. There is actually more to this poem, but here is the core theme.
He, Flee, Tree, We
Regarding the book-ends, the gospel is first and foremost about God and we are the grateful recipients of his efforts. The drama is introduced by our allowed rebellion, for which Jesus sacrificed himself upon the Tree.
All other aspects of the gospel hang on these essentials. Jesus our Creator and our brother; our Lord and our Savior; our Advocate and our atonement.
Christ and him crucified!
What do you think?