The word “Gospel” means “Good News.” But what “Good News” are we talking about?
For most of my life, when I heard the word “Gospel,” I reduced it to this: “Jesus died for the sins of the world so people can be forgiven and go to heaven when they die.” (John 3:16)
That statement is very true, and I’m eternally grateful for this reality! But is personal salvation what the Good News is all about?
Salvation of souls is an important part of the Good News, for sure. But reducing the Good News to a matter of souls and the state of those souls in the afterlife fails to encompass the far-reaching meaning of the word Gospel.
The Good News Jesus preached was the Good News of the Kingdom. He told Nicodemus one night, "Ye must be born again," and this is a fact. We must be. But is this the complete Good News?
The far-reaching thrust of the Kingdom, basically, is this:
The Kingdom of God is demonstrated via the bodily incarnation of Christ. This Kingdom keeps on "coming” [being "realized," "actualized," or "demonstrated"] via the on-going expression of Christ’s life through a great body of everyday people who have been forgiven and reconciled to God through faith in Christ's sacrificial death on their behalf. These people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit for the continuing purpose of being "ministers of reconciliation" of all things to God--including Earth things. (Col. 1:17-20, II Cor. 5:17-20, Matthew 6:9-10)
That's Good News! The ramifications of this for the workplace are enormous!
Here we have not only Good News for the soul, but Good News for the real estate market (as Jack vanHartesvelt demonstrated), artwork and carpentry, as followers of Christ reconcile all things to God (including their work things), "actualizing" or "demonstrating" His Kingdom right where we live and work.
This Kingdom is incarnational, whereby the Spirit of God flows through Christ's many-membered Body of redeemed people around the globe who are driving trucks, selling shoes and managing IRA accounts in the here-and-now, just like the Spirit flowed through Christ's single body 2000 years ago in Palestine--while working with wood in His shop, or preaching to thousands.
When I hear the word "Gospel," I think "Kingdom incarnated," and that's Good News!
Please view Paul Stevens' comments on the Gospel of the Kingdom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VitIItMXKc0