If someone were to ask you what the central theme of the Bible or Christianity is, what would you say? If you were asked to articulate the gospel to someone, how would you do it? What would you point to as the source of authority for your claims?
In this book, Greg Gilbert addresses the problem that many are facing in the church today. For some, this is just a refresher, but for others, this will give a newfound tangible understanding that you can hold on to and know for certain what the foundation of what the Christian faith rests on.
In a culture where pragmatism (what works must be right), liberalism, and secularism are infecting how people see and even live the Christian life, where is the solid ground on which we can stand?
Greg gives what should be the obvious answer……The Bible. God’s inerrant Word given to mankind.
If you want to know about Christianity, read the Bible. Not very profound, but this is certainly the minority view in comparison to the differing views within “Christianity” (If you’re lumping catholicism, orthodox, protestants and the rest in the same category).
“Tradition leaves us relying on nothing more than the opinions of men. Reason, as any freshman philosopher will tell you, leaves us flailing about in skepticism… And experience leaves us relying on our own fickle hearts to decide what is true-a prospect most honest people will find unsettling at best.”
So, as Christians, we find our authority in God by His revealed Word.
There are numerous places, in the Scriptures, that we can point to as defining markers for what the gospel is (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Peters message in Acts 2, Romans 1-4 etc…), but it is in there we can observe a general principle that is both explicit and implicit throughout the Bible. That being God, Man, Christ, and Response. Simple, yet each point has immense substance to it and addresses the most important questions of a human beings life (who am I? What is my purpose? And what happens to me after all of this is over?).
There is a Creator-creation distinction between us and God. We are His ownership, since He created us. This is evident by what we observe in nature (creation demands a Creator……Nothing does not simply spring up to a complex and organized everything). It is simple cause and effect. The Creator owns the creation.
“What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
Though man was created good at the start, we rebelled, we turned on God, and have thus committed high treason against the Holy God of the universe and have committed infinite offenses against that infinitely Holy God. When we break His law and violate our consciences (that inner understanding of right and wrong) we are further separating ourselves from a right standing with God and no amount of good deeds can atone for these crimes.
“Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
“This is the Bible’s sobering verdict on us. There is not one of us righteous, not even one. And because of that, one day every mouth will be silenced, every wagging tongue stopped, and the whole world will be held accountable to God.
If you were to look at the fulness of the Bible, you would be able to see Christ at every corner. The Old Testament is full of promises made, and the New Testament is all about Promises kept (with a few yet to come :-).
The gospel is rooted in this NT scene. Jesus, God himself became a man….Walked the world as a sinless physical human being, but was then tortured and nailed to a cross. This was not meant to show us what sacrifice looks like, but to pay the debt we have incurred on our lives. We broke God’s law and Jesus paid our fine in His life’s blood. He was then resurrected on the 3rd day, and has thus defeated the death deserved at our fall.
“Becoming a Christian is not some laborious process. There’s nothing to earn. Jesus has already earned everything you need. What the gospel calls you to do is to turn your heart away from sin and toward Jesus in faith-that is, trust and reliance. It calls you to come to him and say, “I know I can’t save myself, Jesus, so I’m trusting you to do it for me.” And then a whole world opens up before you. But it all begins with repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus to save you.”
The response is simply repentance and trust alone. And by that He frees you, cleanses you, and adopts you to be His own. And that is the good news of the gospel!
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. “