Non-Christians who believe the gospel become saints who keep believing the gospel. This gospel—or “good news”—is about what God has done for us in Jesus.
The good news about the person and work of Christ was God’s plan before he laid the foundation of the world. In the eternal wisdom and decrees of the Trinity, the Son would enter the world of God’s creatures in a way that united true humanity to true divinity. The incarnation wasn’t Plan B.
The pre-creation plan of redemption reveals how deep the roots of God’s love go for his people. Believers are secure in God’s love because his love is not something that had a beginning. Before we ever were, his love always was.
Christ and Lord
The good news is that the Word/Love/Grace/Wisdom of God became flesh and dwelt among people. Jesus is the promised Christ or Son of David (see 2 Sam. 7:12–13; Matt. 1:1–17). The broken creation laid eyes on the ruler and redeemer who would bring shalom and renewal, and even now this world groans for all things to be made new.
Believers are secure in God’s love because his love isn’t something that had a beginning.
Believers are followers of the one who treads on the serpent (Gen. 3:15). They’re subjects of the King who came and lived and suffered and died and rose and ascended for them. Jesus is the Christ because he is the promised ruler who will be enthroned forever, conquering his enemies and vindicating his people. And Jesus is also Lord because his enthronement is all-encompassing, with total authority in heaven and on earth belonging to him. So Christians proclaim that Jesus is the Christ and that the Christ is Lord of all.
The disciple’s path bends and curves under the reign of the sovereign Jesus. We need the gospel because it turns our eyes to the unending kingdom of God’s Anointed One. The gospel helps us see why idols can’t save us. Jesus’s inaugurated-but-not-yet-consummated rule is a firm foundation in a world of people building on sand.
Advocate We Need
Christians are those who confess the truth about Jesus, seek to follow the commands of Jesus, and love the people of Jesus (see the entire letter of 1 John). But who of us is a perfect follower? We’re imperfect disciples, and those are the only kind of disciples following Jesus anyway. The gospel reminds us that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promise of a new covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; Luke 22:20). And because his sinless life and sin-bearing death sealed a new covenant for sinners like us, our failures and sins do not cancel our standing with God, nor do they diminish his love for us.
Through faith in Jesus, we’re united to him. In our union with him, he’s our Advocate. In Christ, there is forgiveness and cleansing. Renewal and strength. Petition and assurance. We’re struggling saints, but Jesus is our never-failing friend who takes us to the Father by the merits of his obedient life. We can come boldly before the throne of grace because our Savior sits boldly at the right hand of God.
Growing within a Gospel Life
Paul didn’t want the Colossians to shift from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:23), he wanted the Galatians to walk by the Spirit who had begun a saving work in them (Gal. 3:1–3; 5:16–26), and he had delivered to the Corinthians the good news “in which you stand” (1 Cor. 15:1–2). For Paul, Christians never leave the gospel behind for something bigger or better or deeper. The gospel is the power of God to save, sanctify, pardon, and preserve. The gospel is news grounded in God’s eternal counsel. This is a message with depth and scale and grandeur that we can’t fathom. We never outgrow the gospel; we simply grow in our understanding of it.
We never outgrow the gospel; we simply grow in our understanding of it.
Our journey as Christians is on a path of grace. Jesus’s atoning work on the cross ensures not only that the penalty of sin has been paid but also that the power of sin has been broken. We can walk in the light and by the Spirit. Jesus the saving King has come to set us free. The Christian’s heart has repented, is repenting, has believed, and is believing. The Christian life is a gospel life (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21). Jesus took up his cross unto death and afterward was resurrection and glory. Now Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23) so that we can follow him with faith and into glory (Matt. 25:34; 2 Cor. 4:17–18).
Future Full of Good News
If you’re a Christ-follower, I wonder what you see in your future. Do you, with eyes of faith, see God working all things for your good and conforming you to the image of his beloved Son (Rom. 8:28–30)? Do you, through a glass dimly, perceive that your present sufferings will give way to a coming glory that is incomparable and lasting (Rom. 8:18–25)? These hopes are good news and thus gospel, for the gospel isn’t only what Jesus has done but what he will do.
The true disciple’s life is unfolding, day by day, into the love of God. And because our union with Christ will never be severed (Rom. 8:31–39), our future is full of eternal good news. The new covenant is forever, and so the gospel is forever. Jesus is the redeeming King who purchased a people for himself from the nations by his blood (Rev. 5:9–10). The divine grace that pursued us will now hold us fast, and the Christ of the gospel will satisfy our hearts with the living bread and living water that he alone can give.
Written by: MITCH CHASE
First published 15.09.20: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/gospel-still-christians/