Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service, and comes to wealth via giving all away. Those who receive His salvation are not the strong and the accomplished but those who admit that they are weak and lost.
The gospel, therefore, creates a people with a whole alternate way of being human. Racial and class superiority, accrual of money and power at the expense of others, yearning for popularity and recognition–all these things are marks of living in the world, and are the opposite of the mindset of the kingdom (Luke 6:20-26).
All of the above are important ‘perspectives’ on the gospel. The first stresses the doctrinal content of the gospel. The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ died and rose for our salvation in history. The second stresses the personal individual impact of the gospel. The gospel is a transforming grace that changes our hearts and inmost motives. The third stresses the social impact of the gospel. The gospel brings a new ‘order’ in which believers no longer are controlled by material goods or worldly status and have solidarity with others across customary social barriers. These 3 three ‘perspectives’ are all Biblical and should be kept together.
This full approach to the gospel creates a church that does not fit neatly into the traditional ‘conservative/sectarian’ nor ‘liberal/mainline’ categories.
The gospel is the dynamic for all heart-change, life-change, and social-change. Change won’t happen through ‘trying harder’ but only through encountering with the radical grace of God.
Excerpts from 'The Meaning of the Gospel' by Tim Keller
Impact of the Gospel
The gospel is news of what God has done to reach us. It is not advice about what we must do to reach God. What is this news?
God has entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a salvation that we could not achieve for ourselves.
1. The gospel is the good news of gracious acceptance. Jesus lived the life we should live. He also paid the penalty we owe for the rebellious life we do live. He did this in our place (Isaiah 53:4-10; 2 Cor 5:21; Mark 10:45). We are not reconciled to God through our efforts and record, as in all other religions, but through His efforts and record. We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time.
2. The gospel is the good news of changed lives. On the one hand, the Father accepts us in Christ and treats us as if we had done all that Jesus has done (Col 3:2a). But this also means Christ’s life comes into us by the Spirit and shapes us into a new kind of person. The gospel is not just a truth about us that we affirm with our minds, it is also a reality we must experience. Faith in the gospel re-structures our motivations, our self-understanding and identity, and our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting. The gospel changes your heart.
3. The gospel is the good news of the new world coming. The gospel is not just about individual happiness and fulfilment. It is not just a wonderful plan for 'my life' but a wonderful plan for the world. It is about the coming of God's kingdom to renew everything.Gospel-centered churches do not only urge individuals to be converted, but also seek peace and justice in our cities and in our world.