"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."
- Ephesians 1:9-10
Many American Christians today think of the gospel primarily in personal terms. They view its blessings and benefits as largely, maybe even entirely, for them as individuals.
They might readily speak of the gospel as the good news that heaven, not hell, awaits them. Others might add to this the therapeutic benefits of the gospel for their conscience, sense of self worth, experience of joy, and so on. However, far fewer speak of the gospel as the Apostle Paul does here in today’s passage.
Here, the Apostle Paul declares that the good news of the gospel is cosmic in scale. It involves individuals, but extends far beyond them - to families, churches, communities, institutions, cultures, the creation itself….everything! The gospel is good news for all things, things in heaven and things on earth. Through Jesus Christ, God is reconciling all things to himself (Colossians 1:19-20). God is making all things new (Isaiah 43:19; 65:17; Revelation 21:5)!
One of my favorite pastors and theologians, Tim Keller, notes the following:
The Greek term ‘gospel’ (EVANGELION) distinguished the Christian message from that of other religions. An ‘evangel’ was news of a great historical event, such as a victory in war or the ascension of a new king, that changed the listeners’ condition and required a response from the listener. So the gospel is the news of what God has done to reach us. It is not advice about what we must do to reach God.
What is this news?
God entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a redemption that we could not achieve for ourselves, a redemption that includes individuals, every sphere of life they touch, and every square inch of creation. Through Jesus, God is making all things new. Our world is therefore not merely the stage on which the great drama of redemption unfolds. It is an object of redemption itself!
Child of God: Learning to embrace the fullness of the gospel, we can gradually start to see all of life as sacred - everything existing for God’s glory. Our Lord is Lord of all. Captivated by the love and grace of God in the gospel, we can now live all of life for his glory, more and more everyday (1 Corinthians 10:31).
You're loved. Don't forget it.
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SOURCE: Keller, Tim. "The Gospel: Key to Change." Retrieved October 2017 from https://www.cru.org/content/dam/cru/legacy/2013/01/Gospel_KeytoChange_TimKeller.pdf.