I was recently asked to revise our Churches Baptism Manual which is used in baptism classes. This is a task I’ve really enjoyed because the manual gives me the opportunity to examine the Ordinances, Baptism and the Lord’s supper. But more interestingly it is challenging me to define the Gospel in a teachable way which even at college I was never asked to do.
So, defining the gospel is an exciting task for me and it is proving to be an interesting task. There is so much out there these days which defines the Gospel in reaction to a world that is trying to re-define the Gospel. For instance Greg Gilbert’s amazing book What is the Gospel? Is simple concise and easy to read laying out the Gospel in a very readable way.
However, I am tasked with writing a two page summary of the Gospel that is teachable. It is a challenge because I also want this teachable section of the manual to also be very robust. If it is to be part of a Baptism manual I would assume that the reader would have a basic understanding of Justification, the forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God, which is essential. But what I want to accomplish is an instructive lesson that prepares a person to be able to teach the Gospel themselves. I think over the next few days I will be working out my ideas here.
I’m excited to begin this project, really my first attempt at this sort of things. Well then where should I start? I’ll start with two views of the Gospel that are both Biblical. They are as follows:
God > Man > Christ > Response
- God is a holy God. Equally loving and Just and he has a plan to save us. (Col. 1.13-14)
- Man is sinful and unable to save themselves, fully deserving of death for our actions. (Col. 1.21)
- God in his love sends His son, Jesus Christ, who willingly goes to the cross, laying down his life of his own accord for our sins. Living the life we could not live and dyeing the death we deserved. (1 Cor. 15:3-5)
- Those who respond in faith and repent of their sins are forgiven and will have eternal life. (Col. 1.22-23)
Creation > Fall > Redemption > Consummation
- God is the creator God, he created everything that is and it is good. All of which was meant to stir up affection for him.
- Mankind has Fallen. We prefer creation instead of creator turning our affections away from God.
- Jesus Christ came to make all things new. A saving work that is occurring.
- The consummation, the second coming of Christ the fulfilment of his saving action and the restoration of creation.
I believe that this is the framework, the twofold purpose of the Gospel, that I will take in explaining it.