What is the gospel?

“What is the gospel?” The question sparked quite a discussion when it was tossed around the room at discipleship group last night.

For my first twenty-some years as a believer my answer would have been an incredulous, “DUH!? Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we could be forgiven.” And obviously that’s true as far as it goes. Only problem is, the gospel of Jesus went way beyond forgiveness. “Repent… for the kingdom of God is near” (Matt. 4:17) is vastly larger than “Repent so your sins can be forgiven.” When the kingdom of God entered human history in the person of Jesus, far more was changed than just the status of our guilt. Forgiveness was just the beginning. He quickly followed by adopting us into his family and setting off to restore everything gone wrong with the Universe. (Rom. 8:19-25; Eph. 4:10)

Today King Jesus is pouring his life, his beauty, his order, and his justice into all of human activity and experience. And that changes everything from the wonder of a rose to the way I play piano, from my work habits, to my relationships. The world has unfurled beyond imagination because the King has reclaimed His cosmos.

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