Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jesus is the Christ – The Gospel Proper

I have noticed a huge gap in the thinking of today’s Christian. It is that when I ask what does “Jesus is the Christ” mean very few people give even a vaguely sufficient answer. If we do not know the content of this foundational Christian truth, then dare I say that we do not know the Gospel!!!

In all the literature, I find very little that gives a valid emphasis or a valid definition to the proclamation of the early church that "Jesus is the Christ". This is a serious problem.

Peter’s confession was just this that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. John wrote His gospel “that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing we might have an eternal quality of life”. Yet, we do not believe that Jesus is the Christ if we do not understand what is meant by the proclamation “Jesus is the Christ”.

Here is the biggest problem in the Church and is at the root of all, yes all, our theological confusion and lack of moving forward in following Jesus, we do not, generally, know the promises that are granted through faith in the Gospel that the Christ has come.

Most people when I ask what does Jesus is the Christ mean say it means he is our savior and that He died for our sin. Certainly, the Christ did save us by dying for our sin. This event of the cross is in fact the central work of the Christ, but this is not the totality at all of what it means to believe that Jesus is the Christ. If we believe that the Christ means that God sent His Son to die for us then faith in the Gospel provides forgiveness of sin. If this is the Gospel, then it follows that the result is that those who believe this gospel will one day die and be granted access to heaven. The response to this is to serve Him out of gratitude. This is how the gospel is most often presented. But this is only a partial gospel.

Jesus is the Christ means much more than our sins being forgiven.

Jesus is the Christ means that the Christ, the anointed King whom God promised to send has come and He reigns over all heaven and earth in wisdom and power. The promise is that when the Christ comes He will bring to earth the kingdom of God. To believe the gospel is to believe first that Jesus is the Christ and that He is alive. Therefore all the promises are yes and amen in Him for He is the promised Christ. Because the Christ has come and He has poured out His Spirit on all who believe, we are now empowered to follow Him into His kingdom. The kingdom of God is within our reach today. The Christ has come!!!

The immediate relevance of this message is absolutely life changing. If the Christ has come, then every thing has changed, and in deed every thing has. We have access to the presence of God through His death and we walk in His power over sin and all our spiritual enemies because of His authority. I could go on and on but for this post suffice it to say that the key of keys for our generation is to rediscover the biblical gospel that Jesus is the Christ and to understand all the depths of the promises of God that are implied in this proclamation. If we begin first with understanding and believing this message then we will find that what necessarily follows is faith for the immediate presence of the kingdom