It was really cool to spend nearly two hours today looking at the gospel, the Bible, and evangelistic preaching, and to find that all three are totally inter-linked (as one might imagine if one thought about it!).
The Good News of God, the gospel, is that the time has come – the kingdom is near – because the King is here to rule, and salvation is possible in his kingdom through forgiveness of sins. It seems the gospel, the good news about the King, cannot be taught unless the rule of Jesus is taught.
And, as we announce the King, we look for repentance and faith: people are to change their minds about who’s in charge for they recognise Jesus is King, and trust his promise to forgive them, thus abandoning any idea of self-righteousness.
So in evangelistic preaching, we aim to present Jesus as Lord and also as Saviour. Of course both have to be told, for if he is Lord without Saviour then we have on our hands a religion of works, and if we omit his Lordship then we have a state of being where we can do whatever we like (anti-nomianism?) – though of course if there is no Lord, then really we needn’t be saved anyway.
Similarly we can’t substitute repentance or faith – if there is no faith then there is no real trusting God for mercy, so actually repentance will not have been understood. Likewise, an understanding of forgiveness will include being ushered graciously into the kingdom, of which of course there is a King and kingdom life.
Paul firmly believes in the gospel, not a gospel, and that is the apostolic gospel. Is it a big issue? Well, in Galatians 1.6,7 Paul says he wishes that those who twist the gospel of Christ be accursed. Yet when we unleash the true gospel, it is the power of God to save – in it the righteousness of God is revealed, the true character of God.