Any Other Gospel is Not the Gospel at All
- Monday, November 10, 2008
"As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." (galatians 1:9)
I keep saying to myself that there has to be an explanation why so many millions of people claim to be born-again followers of Jesus Christ, attending nearly 250,000 churches—around 3,000 of those mega-churches—with a vibrant and growing Christian subculture of music, television, books and literature, education, Internet presence, and even their own Yellow Pages.
As I said, there has to be an explanation why, given all this, the morals and culture of America continue to decline away from the teaching of Scripture, the young are abandoning their Christian upbringing in growing numbers, and the public square continues devoid of any far-ranging, seriously taken Christian voice. There simply has to be an explanation for this.
And I think I have it. It harks back to a chesterton comment back around the turn of the 20th century. It's not that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been tried and is simply found wanting. It's that the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the Gospel of the Kingdom—has not been tried.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
Jesus came preaching a particular message to the people of His generation. The gospel writers refer to it as "the Gospel of the Kingdom." The Good News that Jesus announced had as its focus an objective reality that the New Testament refers to as the Kingdom of God (matthew 4:23; 9:35). What is that?
The Kingdom of God is the divine rule that Jesus came to bring into the affairs of men. It is an administration of righteousness, peace, and joy which we may enter by the Holy Spirit, through the new birth which comes by grace through faith (romans 14:17; john 3:1-16). The Kingdom of God centers on Jesus, who is its King, and His call to follow Him in a life of self-denying service to the glory of God (mark 10:42-45).
To enter this Kingdom is to be born again to a life set apart for God, characterized by obedience to the Law of God (1 john 2:1-6). God gives His Kingdom to those who truly love Him, who renounce the desires, doodads, and deeds of the world and the flesh, and who invest their strength in becoming rich in faith (james 2:5).
The Kingdom of God is not just a reality to be acknowledged and confessed; it is a realm of power, real spiritual power, in which, increasingly, all things are made new and every aspect of a person's life is reconciled to God, unto the praise of the glory of His grace (1 corinthians 4:20; 2 corinthians 5:17).
They who enter this Kingdom may be identified by their fervor in seeking to realize more of its presence and power (matthew 6:33), their prayers for its coming on earth as in heaven (matthew 6:10), their dutiful obedience to the holy and righteous and good Law of God (ezekiel 36:26,27; romans 7:12), and their faithfulness in living as witnesses to their risen and reigning Lord (acts 1:8).
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