What if the gospel isn’t what you’ve always thought it was?
What if it’s better than you’ve ever imagined?
In my last post, I suggested that most Christians believe the message of the Gospel is essentially about how we deal with sin. That salvation is about Jesus’ death on a cross for our forgiveness, and if we believe in Him, we will go to heaven when we die.
However, we get a totally different picture of salvation if we define the Gospel as Jesus did.
How did Jesus define the Gospel?
Jesus proclaimed the Good News to be the presence and the availability of another kind of life.
A life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Good News is that you can NOW, wherever you are and whoever you are, live in the presence of God ~ in an active, intimate, personal relationship with Him ~ on this side of the hereafter.
“If you want to go to heaven, now is a good time to do it!” Dallas Willard
God is present with humans, whether it’s in the here and now or in the hereafter.
We don’t have to wait until we die go to heaven and live with God.
As a matter of fact, our life with God NOW is preparation for life with Him after our physical death.
This different kind of life is what scripture calls “eternal life”, and the only description of this kind of life is found in the words of Jesus:
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Eternal life is found, not in learning information about God, but in a personal, interactive kind of knowing.
Eternal life is a relationship of intimacy with God.
The entire biblical message ~ The Good News ~ is one of God’s intimate, active, personal involvement with humans.
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. But what did he believe? That God would forgive his sins? Not at all.
Abraham believed God would interact with him now. He believed God to such an outrageous extent that he leaned his entire weight upon God’s words.
And he was declared righteous. God did not declare that Abraham would go to heaven. Abraham certainly would, but because he was a friend of God.
What else would God do with a friend?
The issue, as far as the gospel is concerned, is whether or not we walk in an interactive relationship with God that displays this new kind of life in the Kingdom.
There is a difference between trusting Jesus with our whole lives verse trusting some arrangement for forgiveness of sins.
The gospel is the good news of the presence and availability of life in the kingdom, now and forever. This was Abraham’s faith.
The Gospel is the message of a God who loves us so much that He made a way for spiritually dead people to live an empowered, transforming, purpose-filled life of shared intimacy with Him. A life we can have now and will never ever end.
This new kind of life is a gift we receive when we accept Jesus’ invitation to a relationship with Him, living as His disciple, under His authority, and by His power. Exchanging our ideas of “reality” for His, which is genuine reality. Trusting Him to restore our original, God-given identity, instead of trying hard to change ourselves. Learning to walk daily with Him as we progressively become more and more like Him
Jesus has already done all that is necessary to make this different kind of life possible for us and available to us. We receive this new kind of life by repentance and belief, relinquishing our lives into God’s loving hands.
Christian salvation is not exclusively about forgiveness of sins. Sin is the barrier that alienates people from God, and the death of Jesus destroys the alienation we deserve.
But that is not the sum total of Christian salvation.
To all who receive Him, to all who believe in His name, He gives the right to become children of God.
And that by believing, you might have LIFE in his name.
John 1:12; 20:31
Do you have this kind of LIFE with God?
Are you living NOW in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Are you living NOW in an intimate, personal relationship with God, leaning your entire self upon His words to you?
The availability of this new kind of life in God’s Presence is the Gospel Jesus preached.
Is this the Gospel you have heard? Is this the Gospel you have received?