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  #1  
Old 09-03-2009, 08:06 AM
doinghiswill's Avatar
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Default Reclaiming the Gospel

Reclaiming the Gospel

Some reflections on the Context of the Gospel of Christ

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake. For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

I confess to a growing suspicion that not only is this gospel veiled to the unbelieving, but also to those who are more nominal in their faith. The very reduction of Paul’s glorious gospel to a formula for salvation to those who “accept” the Lord almost assures that what will follow will itself be nominal and fall short of the light of the glory which Paul proclaims. We must be as radically separated as Paul from the god of this world, or else we will suffer‘blindness,’ to the degree that we subscribe, adhere, or share in, the values of this world.

For Paul, the gospel was not an optional extra to his apostolic life. It flowed out from his life, and was integral to it. To restore the gospel is to reclaim the lifestyle and mindset from which it issues. To proclaim “Jesus Christ as Lord” is possible only to those for whom He is Lord. This can only be measured by the degree to which we are slaves (bond servants) for Jesus sake. Anything other is essentially “proclaiming ourselves,” even though we may be well-meaning and correct in our faith. In that condition, our proclamation will be infrequent, shallow and unconvincing. How shall we call others to the totality which we have ourselves ignored?

The same condition by which the pronouncement came in Bethlehem at the advent of Christ’s birth must accompany every reiteration of that birth: “a savior who is Christ the Lord.” No lordship, no saviorhood! How many of us are languishing spiritually on the same basis by which the unbelieving perish? How many of us have more of a truncated, inadequate view of God, not seeing the light of the glory of Christ who is the image of God!

Paul continues, “but we have this treasure in earthen vessels…(v.7). This rhapsodic language is not inflated. It is altogether one with a man who actually sees the gospel as the light of the glory of Christ, who is the light of the glory of God in the face of Israel’s Messiah! Then does the message become personally dear (‘my gospel, our gospel”). This alone saves the gospel from becoming a mechanical formula for salvation. Then also does a new degree of opposition follow (”afflicted, perplexed, struck down” vv.8-9) that will invariably follow those whose message and person, one and the same, is hated by the god of this world who prefers mankind blind! But Paul replies twice, “We do not lose heart”(4:1, 16) confident that “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus”(v.14) not only at the consummation of all things, but also, by the same power, presently!

To restore this gospel, then, is to restore the matrix from which it had its first expression: the apostolic lifestyle of the apostle. His view of eternity by which his afflictions were seen as “momentary and light” in view of the “eternal weight of glory” (v.17) needs also to be regained. All is set in the overview of “the judgment seat of Christ” to which we must all appear (2 Cor. 5:10) so that “knowing the “terror of the Lord” we persuade men! We cannot and ought not to detach the gospel from this context. The message of the gospel flows inexorably out of it. This should be one of the defining characteristics of the church’s witness in society. May the Lord bring us again to this purpose for our being.
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1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Reclaiming the Gospel

Quote:
Originally Posted by doinghiswill View Post
Reclaiming the Gospel

Some reflections on the Context of the Gospel of Christ

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake. For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

I confess to a growing suspicion that not only is this gospel veiled to the unbelieving, but also to those who are more nominal in their faith. The very reduction of Paul’s glorious gospel to a formula for salvation to those who “accept” the Lord almost assures that what will follow will itself be nominal and fall short of the light of the glory which Paul proclaims. We must be as radically separated as Paul from the god of this world, or else we will suffer‘blindness,’ to the degree that we subscribe, adhere, or share in, the values of this world.

For Paul, the gospel was not an optional extra to his apostolic life. It flowed out from his life, and was integral to it. To restore the gospel is to reclaim the lifestyle and mindset from which it issues. To proclaim “Jesus Christ as Lord” is possible only to those for whom He is Lord. This can only be measured by the degree to which we are slaves (bond servants) for Jesus sake. Anything other is essentially “proclaiming ourselves,” even though we may be well-meaning and correct in our faith. In that condition, our proclamation will be infrequent, shallow and unconvincing. How shall we call others to the totality which we have ourselves ignored?
For 6,000 years, God has told His servants to avoid mixing truth with error. He warned Adam that eating of the wrong tree would result in death. And it did.

The warning is the same for us today!

I have learned a good analogy for this while studying a bible study course.
I had never considered it before, but have never forgotten it since.

Analogy: Think of a delicious cake laced with either arsenic, cyanide or any other poison, while otherwise containing nothing but good and healthy ingredients. Eating such a cake would always result in death.
The good ingredients would not be sufficient to overcome the hidden poison. Likewise, God’s Church does not and cannot mix truth with error. As with the cake, the result for those who do is fatal!

I think this is where a lot of 'christians' go wrong in applying the 'Word', their daily walk, fellowship, and studying. They are so willing to believe what fits in there present 'worldly' desires and pleasures. They just don't see themselves as others see them. They are so willing to buy into any doctrine or tradition that feels 'warm and fuzzy' at the time. They mix good with bad and expect life.

We don't put Christ first and permit Him to rule and control our lives. We, and as proven throughout history, man always knows better in our carnal minds and bodies. If all people, and all nations/governments would only submit to the love and gospel of Jesus Christ, think what a beautiful and wondrous place earth would be! Of course, man will never submit to rulership of Jesus Christ. But one day, as prophesied and proclaimed by Jesus Christ himself, and all the other prophets of the Old and New Testaments he will have complete rulership and dominion over us and this world. Then what a wonderful, indescribable, kingdom we will inherit!


God Bless You Brother!
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:52 PM
quietude
 
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Default Re: Reclaiming the Gospel

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Originally Posted by doinghiswill View Post
I confess to a growing suspicion that not only is this gospel veiled to the unbelieving, but also to those who are more nominal in their faith.
I agree. And I see in this veiling the love of God for his children. As I understand it, men are accountable before God for those things which they understand. So veiling the complete meaning of the Gospel from the "sight" of the unbelieving, or of those of weak faith, enables God to show maximum mercy to them, and limits the claim justice has upon them. It is one of those further evidences to me that God is indeed both just and merciful, and that he is no omnipotent bully whose glory is derived from the meting out of punishment.

Jesse
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Reclaiming the Gospel

I think restoration is definitely in order. It took blood to establish the gospel, perhaps it will require blood to re establish the gospel. Our blood that is.
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:29 PM
Seeker100
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Reclaiming the Gospel

Quote:
Originally Posted by doinghiswill View Post
Reclaiming the Gospel

Some reflections on the Context of the Gospel of Christ

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake. For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

I confess to a growing suspicion that not only is this gospel veiled to the unbelieving, but also to those who are more nominal in their faith. The very reduction of Paul’s glorious gospel to a formula for salvation to those who “accept” the Lord almost assures that what will follow will itself be nominal and fall short of the light of the glory which Paul proclaims. We must be as radically separated as Paul from the god of this world, or else we will suffer‘blindness,’ to the degree that we subscribe, adhere, or share in, the values of this world.

For Paul, the gospel was not an optional extra to his apostolic life. It flowed out from his life, and was integral to it. To restore the gospel is to reclaim the lifestyle and mindset from which it issues. To proclaim “Jesus Christ as Lord” is possible only to those for whom He is Lord. This can only be measured by the degree to which we are slaves (bond servants) for Jesus sake. Anything other is essentially “proclaiming ourselves,” even though we may be well-meaning and correct in our faith. In that condition, our proclamation will be infrequent, shallow and unconvincing. How shall we call others to the totality which we have ourselves ignored?

The same condition by which the pronouncement came in Bethlehem at the advent of Christ’s birth must accompany every reiteration of that birth: “a savior who is Christ the Lord.” No lordship, no saviorhood! How many of us are languishing spiritually on the same basis by which the unbelieving perish? How many of us have more of a truncated, inadequate view of God, not seeing the light of the glory of Christ who is the image of God!

Paul continues, “but we have this treasure in earthen vessels…(v.7). This rhapsodic language is not inflated. It is altogether one with a man who actually sees the gospel as the light of the glory of Christ, who is the light of the glory of God in the face of Israel’s Messiah! Then does the message become personally dear (‘my gospel, our gospel”). This alone saves the gospel from becoming a mechanical formula for salvation. Then also does a new degree of opposition follow (”afflicted, perplexed, struck down” vv.8-9) that will invariably follow those whose message and person, one and the same, is hated by the god of this world who prefers mankind blind! But Paul replies twice, “We do not lose heart”(4:1, 16) confident that “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus”(v.14) not only at the consummation of all things, but also, by the same power, presently!

To restore this gospel, then, is to restore the matrix from which it had its first expression: the apostolic lifestyle of the apostle. His view of eternity by which his afflictions were seen as “momentary and light” in view of the “eternal weight of glory” (v.17) needs also to be regained. All is set in the overview of “the judgment seat of Christ” to which we must all appear (2 Cor. 5:10) so that “knowing the “terror of the Lord” we persuade men! We cannot and ought not to detach the gospel from this context. The message of the gospel flows inexorably out of it. This should be one of the defining characteristics of the church’s witness in society. May the Lord bring us again to this purpose for our being.
This is an excellent excellent post. You are very correct in your suspicions. Worldliness blinds people from the gospel. As Jesus says, "No man can serve two masters".

When one serves the world, faith that Jesus is God, becomes blurred. When one serves the world, one is not doing what is true, and thus one does not see that they need the Light to serve, to make their actions aligned with God. When one serves the world one does not do things for Jesus.

Adhearing to simple formulas of salvation is nonsence and is just an extension of the worldly delusion. True salvation is deliverance of sin. Jesus came to put an end to the works of the devil. Salvation is now, it is eternal life now. It is life with the union of God now. A person who works for worldly things is not in the spiritual state of salvation nomatter what formulas he or she adhears to. Salvation is life. Salvation is serving the Lord, not serving worldly things.
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