Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What is the Gospel?

Following the conversation from some recent comments.

The Gospel is Good News. The Good News is God doesn't want us to live like this anymore. He wants us to rise above selfishness and live freer, more joyful lives, rather than being bound up in our own wants and abused by the wants of those around us. Hence, as Rob told his daughter, Love God and Love Your Neighbor (defined further as everyone including people who hate you.)

Jesus Christ came to set us free.

The problem is exactly how does this happen. Does it happen in a tearful fit at the altar? For some, it seems. Does it happen with a radical commitment to service? For some, it seems. Does it happen when a relationship becomes supportive and encouraging beyond normal measure? For some, it seems. Does it come with some insightful Bible knowledge which fills out your understanding of The Story We Find Ourselves In? For some, it seems. Does it come from a recognition of the demonic enemy and an awareness that you are in fact in a battle for your heart? For some, it seems. Does it come from medication that balances out those chemicals which either dull your mind or set it on edge? For some, it seems.

For me, it has been most of the above.

I believe part of the problem has been theology, particularly the theology of creation, end times, and heaven. I truly believe Jesus died within this creation to salvage it, not to rescue the few who might slip out. My hope is for the world to be renewed. It is an ebb and flow. But our view of end times is usually dooms day, get off the radar, and bunker down. It slows loving your neighbor. Our view of heaven is country side paradise and mansions. Lots and lots of room. Easy to find solitude when you're done talking with grandma and Noah. I don't think so.

The biggest problem I see right now is something Brant has pointed out. America has no poverty, not in comparison to the world. But to face up to the fact that our consumerism isn't just healthy democracy and well earned reward, but instead is pure selfishness does not sell well in this culture. Am I ready to relegate myself to the nutty voices?

Why would God want us to love Him and love our neighbor in sacrificial cross-cultural ways? So we might save a few or start a revolution? Is the Gospel a life preserver or a world changer?

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