Is Gospel-Centeredness a Fad?

If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of talk about the gospel these days. Our goal for WBC is to be a gospel-centered church, a community that exists through the gospel and for the gospel. But we’re not the only church aiming for reclaiming of the centrality of the gospel for all of life and ministry. There is an entire gospel-renewal movement afoot in the West. Just check out the The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel. What you’ll find is a staggering list of the most respected, theologically-sound, missionally-minded pastors, scholars, and church leaders banding together to say the greatest need of the church is (and always has been and always will be!) to remain unswervingly committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With so much talk about the gospel one might wonder, is this “gospel-centeredness” just a fad? A buzzword to be forgotten by the next trend?

As I’ve been serving and studying at the Spurgeon Sabbatical this week, I’ve become even more convinced that to be gospel-centered is to be truly biblical and that the gospel is ancient and essential.

Our theme this year is “Romans 1-5 Judgment and Justification: Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing in Ministry.” We’ve spent the past two days exploring Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Roman Christians in 1:1-7. This opening paragraph sets the tone for the entire letter–a letter that is often regarded as the most important book of the Bible and  most influential in history.

Paul wastes no words. Everything he says in these verses serves to reinforce everything else in the letter. What does he talk about? The gospel! Who’s he writing to? Christians? What do they need most? The gospel!

In Romans 1:1-7 , Paul gives 6 statements about the gospel.

  1. Paul, because he was a servant of the Messiah, Jesus, was set apart for the gospel of God (v.1). Therefore, the gospel is the centerpiece of apostolic teaching and ministry.
  2. God promised this gospel before through his holy Scriptures (v.2). Therefore, the gospel didn’t begin in the New Testament. It didn’t begin with Paul. It didn’t even begin with Jesus. It goes back to the ancient Scriptures, the promise of good news that God would indeed rule and reign over his people (Isaiah 40:9; 52:7; 61:1) in a new and powerful way someday.
  3. The gospel concerns God’s Son, who came into being from the seed of David in terms of his human lineage (v.3). Therefore, because the gospel of God was revealed in the ancient Scriptures, things in Redemptive history occurred exactly as God planned. The content of the gospel includes the fact that God would rule and reign through a descendant of King David. Jesus, God’s Son, is that Davidic King.
  4. The gospel concerns God’s Son, who was “determined” to be the Son of God by virtue of the resurrection from the dead, brought about by the power of the “Spirit of Holiness”, so that he is Jesus, the Messiah, our Lord (v.4). Therefore, the proof or vindication that Jesus really was the Son of God and the rightful Jewish Messiah and Davidic King was his resurrection from the dead. Jesus didn’t stay dead! God raised him from the dead and appointed him ruler and judge of the world–Lord.
  5. The gospel concerns God’s Son, through whom Paul received the grace to become an apostle for the purpose of bring about the “obedience of faith” among all the nations for the sake of his name (v. 5). Therefore, the gospel is the good news that Jesus’ Lordship extends not only to Israel but to the nations! The gospel is manifested in the changed lives of God’s people. Only gospel ministry will bring about the obedience that faith produces.
  6. The gospel concerns God’s Son, to whom you also belong as those called from among the nations (v 6). Therefore, it is the gospel which unites a local church. The local church is a called-out gospel-community that belongs to Messiah Jesus.

Finally after unpacking these 6 statements about the gospel Paul ends the 7 verse sentence with “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Paul desires for the Roman Christians to have a fresh, ongoing encounter of the grace of God. We become Christians by God’s grace. We continue as Christians by God’s grace. That is the gospel. That is good news. It’s not NEW Good News. it is THE Good News!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. […] Is Gospel-Centeredness a Fad? What do you think? My answer, here. […]

    Reply

  2. […] am (Current Reading) (buzz, christian, community, God, gospel) A recent post from a friend found here, got me thinking about terms that grow in popularity only to eventually disappear into the ancient […]

    Reply

  3. Good stuff! Thanks Josh.

    Reply

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