Last week, I asked the question: “Can we overemphasize the gospel?” Hundreds have considered this question, and a number have weighed in on the issue. One reader in particular, Russ, ended his comments by asking: “What is the gospel scripturally meant to be?” I posed the question back to him, and here’s what he said:
I do not know in full. The scriptures you provided were a good and proper start. I think that in some sense, the gospel is to function as our everything. Or to borrow from Tim Keller, the gospel should function as a complete worldview. I have recently been affected by the all-encompassing tone of Paul’s self reflection in Philippians 3:7-15, a text where Paul essentially seems to say that he wants to know the gospel well. We usually focus on the “knowing Christ” aspect of the passage, but Paul seems to include other aspects of the Gospel as personal and effecting, or at least as informing the dynamic of His relationship with Christ.
I feel that the underlying concern here has more to do with the heart than with language or a movement. I think your post could stand with using the exact same reasoning but could address an over-emphasizing of the terms “Jesus” or “Glory of God” in an unedifying polarity just as well.
The punditry with movements can be good a thing, especially to preserve and refine them, but I also feel that there is really only one true movement: Christ moved from heaven to earth, from the cross to the grave for our sins, and victoriously back to the Father, and so now we move in that reality.
Personally, I am not very far removed from the error which we wish to avoid here. So what is my hope?
My hope ultimately is Christ. But how can I hope on Him and His grace? I have come to learn only through the gospel alone. I am looking for God to tend to my heart, but I am expecting that to happen only through a deeper realization of the gospel.
So I ask you the same question Russ asked me: “What is the gospel meant to be?”
*Comments have been edited for form and not content (emphasis added by editor)