4 Jesus: Keep the Christ in Christianity

Two Apostles Describe Their Gospels

And so the first century gospel was not a formula to be accepted, but a Person to be trusted, loved, and obeyed.
Paul wrote Timothy: “Remember Christ Jesus, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.” (2 Tim 2:8-9) That’s how Paul summed up his message. “Jesus is alive (‘raised from the dead’) and He’s reigning as King ('descended from David'). What will you do with Him?”

To the Romans Paul spoke of his “priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” He added: “So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ...where Christ was not known.” (15:16,19-20) And he concludes his letter with this blessing: “Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey Him.” (16:25-26) This was the gospel to Paul: By the command of the Eternal One, the proclamation of Jesus to people who didn’t really know Him, so that they might believe and obey and in so doing become a living sacrifice acceptable to Him.

The message was Jesus. The response was a believing submission to Him.

The apostle John summed it up even more simply. “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because He has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:9-12) The apostolic testimony must enter our hearts and take up residence there. It must penetrate beyond our intellects! Deep within us, we must see Jesus Himself as eternal life.

The living, reigning Jesus is the gospel. That is why it will never do for us simply to analyze the New Testament proclamation about Him so that we can recite it to those around us.

We ourselves must come to see Jesus!

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