Jesus and Your gospel

The question ‘what is the Gospel according to the NT?’ is one which I have been asking for a long time now. I’m interested primarily because I want to answer this question, ‘what is the Gospel that we should be sharing, announcing, and celebrating?’ So here is something to think about in reference to these.

What part does Jesus play in your understanding of ‘the good news’? I’ve thought of three basics ways that Jesus is often related to the Gospel as it has been communicated in writing and speech:

  • The Gospel is a message about Jesus,
  • The Gospel is a message that includes Jesus,
  • The Gospel is a reiteration of Jesus’ own ‘gospel’ (Mark 1.15).

Thoughts…

The Gospel in Colossians – 1.21-23

1.21-23
21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him- 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. [NRSV]

• Through their comprehension of ‘the grace of God’ in the goodnews (1.6), they have been ‘reconciled’ to God.
• This is so that they may leave behind a life characterized by ‘evil deeds’ and become ‘holy, blameless and irreproachable before him’ for the day of judgment.
• This will only happen if they do not depart from the goodnews, in particular the ‘hope’.
• This ‘hope’ has been given a universal audience.
• Paul has become a servant of ‘this goodnews’.

From this passage and 1.3-7 we can establish that ‘the gospel’ is about actual events (‘word of truth’), and that it includes a forward looking dimension (‘hope’), all of which is of universal relevance (‘the whole world’; ‘every creature under heaven’). Furthermore, the reception of this news brings about a transformation in its recipients (‘bearing fruit’).

Two questions remain: 1) What real world events does the gospel speak of? 2) what is the nature of the ‘hope’ included within this?

The Gospel in Colossians – 1.3-7

1.3-7
3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7 This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. [NRSV]

What do we learn about ‘the gospel’ from this passage?

• The Colossian’s ‘faith in Christ Jesus’ and ‘love for all the saints’ spring from the ‘hope laid up in heaven’.
• This ‘hope’ was a part of ‘the goodnews’ (gospel) brought to them by Epaphras, a colleague of Paul and Timothy.
• This goodnews is ‘bearing fruit among them’ and ‘in the whole world’, it is impacting human life in keeping with what it communicates.
• It has been having this impact among them since they ‘heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God’.