How would you describe the Gospel? The definition of the Gospel is “Good News.” And it is absolutely the best news in the world. But the message of the Gospel goes far beyond news as we typically think of it. When we often think of news, it is about an event that happened and is over. We talk about it today, but it happened yesterday.
But the Gospel isn’t just a past event, the Gospel is something that continues to be active.
The Gospel, which is the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus, is a promise. In the Gospel, we are promised the the blood of Jesus has paid the price for our sins. We have been promised that our sins are forgiven, that we are made sons and daughters, and that the enemy has been defeated. The Gospel is a promise that shapes all of the Christian life; this promise is not only news that looks back at history but also shapes the present and the future.
Promises are personal.
Have you ever had someone break a promise to you? It hurts. Broken promises hurt so badly because promises are personal. When a promise is made, the person making the promise is declaring that they can be trusted and the person doing the trusting is putting their confidence in the person they have a relationship with.
Promises are always personal.
This is why broken promises hurt so much, because trust is broken in the relationship. And this is why people actually trust other people who make promises, because the promise is personal.
Why do you think a wedding is such a meaningful event? Because two people who love each other deeply and have an incredible relationship want to publicly make a promise to each other. They want their relationship to also have a promise. The promise is connected to the relationship. Without the relationship, we wouldn’t have seen the promise. And without the promise, the relationship would likely be affected to.
God is a God of promises. And his promises are connected to his relationship with us. The Gospel promise is always a relational promise. His promise to us calls us to put our faith, trust, and confidence in him. And this promise that he makes to us is not disconnected from any relationship, in fact it is both evidence of his relationship with us and it encourages the growth of the relationship that he has established with us.
Promises are future oriented.
Our faith in Jesus not only looks back at history, but it looks forward. The message of the Gospel is not simply calling us to believe that an event happened in history, but to have faith that this historical event has implications both in the present and in the future.
We see this in the words of Jesus when he promises, “And surely I will be with you always.” It’s not just about what happened. It’s about what will happen.
Jesus could have very easily told countless stories of the faithfulness of God throughout history. He could have recounted the ways that God was faithful to Israel as they rebelled against God. He could have recounted the ways that God was faithful to Israel in their rescue from Egypt. He could have recounted how God had been faithful throughout all of human history. But Jesus didn’t simply look back at history, he also looks forward.
The promise of the Gospel is not simply a historical event, but it is a present reality. The death and resurrection absolutely happened in history, but death and resurrection also happens daily in the life of the Christian.
Promises seek faith.
The whole purpose behind a promise is to elicit faith.
In a wedding when a bride and groom make promises in their vows to each other, the goal is that this couple has faith in their new spouse. The promise seeks faith. As the husband speaks to his wife his promise to hear, he is seeking to make her confident that he will truly love her all the days of her life. And the same is true as the wife speaks to her husband, she is seeking to make sure he trusts that she will love and respect them no matter what.
The promise of the Gospel creates faith. It evokes faith in us as we hear the promise. The promise is spoken and faith is created; faith, which trusts that the God who makes this promise is who he says He is.
(HT: Professor Arand)