What is the Gospel?
This blog is named “gospel-centred parenting” – why do we want parenting to be centred around “the gospel”?
Gospel means “Good News”.
The gospel that we love here at gospel-centred parenting is the best news ever. Let’s take a few lines to enjoy it together…
It’s the best love story of all time.
It’s the true story of God and the people he made.
It’s a story, like all the great stories; full of plot-twists, suspense, adventure, betrayal and romance. In fact it’s the story that all other great stories spring from.
It’s a story penned by 40 writers, in three continents, using three languages and recorded over a time period of 1,500 years – but with one Master-Author weaving all the subplots and overarching storyline together.
Would you like to find out what this story is? Then we’d better start where all good stories begin…
At the very beginning.
Well actually, this story begins before the beginning.
Before time or matter existed. God existed. God: a loving family of God the Father, Son and Spirit. Within the Trinity they hatched a plan – to create. Out of their loving community they would create a universe. A vast universe of wondrous galaxies and solar systems, a planet Earth teeming with life and vibrance. And at the pinnacle of this creation something unlikely: a species of creatures called human beings – people made to reflect the very nature of God.
God had a dream. This humanity would promote God’s causes of Earth, their loving community would reflect that of the Trinity, they would be relational beings having a personal and enjoyable relationship with God. They would be God’s children.
But it all went horribly wrong.
In a moment of doubt and mistrust the first human beings believed a terrible lie – that God did not truly love them.
God had only ever demonstrated love for his people, and God was entirely motivated by love – all he said and did was for their good, but they believed otherwise. They turned their back on God, rejecting a relationship with him and seeking to rule the world independent of him. And as the relationship between God and his children was severed, the universe became fractured and diseased. Sin and death entered existence.
But the story did not end there.
God launched his rescue plan, to restore his creation. He began another a story: a story of rescue, a story designed to win the hearts of his children back to himself so that they could once again be in relationship with him. He made a way for them to live in a loving community again. His dream was not dead – his children would once again promote his cause on earth and live in fullness and joy.
How would he do this?
Humanity had demonstrated again and again that they could not work their way back to God. In fact, their inclination was to run in the opposite direction from God. Deeply ingrained in every human heart was the lie that God did not, and could not possibly ever love them.
How would God win back their rebellious hearts and demonstrate his love to them?
The answer is unthinkable, extraordinary, almost too good to be true…
God became one of them.
You see, God entered the universe he had made. The uncreated one became so invested in humanity that he became one of them. The Son of God – Jesus Christ came to live on the earth.
His mission was to demonstrate once and for all that God did truly love his children. His aim was to kill the lie that God couldn’t possibly love them. He went to extraordinary lengths to prove that.
Jesus Christ subverted all the expectations of what God could be like. He wasn’t indifferent, superior, or a kill-joy. He was born in obscurity, in poverty and he became a child refugee. He was not a priest or theologian but a carpenter. He spoke wisdom which is still revered today but had no formal education to his name. He hated dead religion – knowing that we can’t make ourselves right with God. He loved the down-and-outs – befriending prostitutes, swindlers, immigrants and the disabled. He was accused of being a drunkard and glutton as he feasted into the wee small hours.
He loved fiercely and indiscriminately. He came to bring good news that broken people can be in relationship with God. He was coming to reverse all the brokenness of the world – showing his power over nature, disease, evil and even death itself. He lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live, and then he died the death that we should die. At the cross he became our substitute. He was punished in our place and we get the offer of free and full forgiveness. A great exchange happened – he was punished for our sin and we are given acceptance and eternal life.
Wonderfully, death could not hold Jesus, he rose from the dead ushering in a new era.
Now because of all that Jesus achieved through his life, death and resurrection, humanity could be in relationship with God once again. He made a way for people to live in a loving community again. His dream was not dead because he was not dead, and now – his children could once again promote his cause on earth and live in fullness and joy.
Now we’re waiting for a future day when God will recreate the universe in perfection. One day in the future this world will be remade with no more fear, tears or death. God’s people will live forever in relationship with him. The family will be reunited. Heaven will come down and join earth.
It captures this beautifully in the Jesus Story-Book Bible;
“Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away or hiding. No more being sick or dying. Everything sad has come untrue – and see – I have wiped every tear from every eye!…The ending of the Story is going to be so great, that it would make the all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.”
So that is the gospel.
That is the greatest love story of all time.
The story of God making people, and God rescuing people, and then God living with his people forever and ever. The most wonderful thing about it is that this love story has no ending, but every chapter is simply better than the one before.