“…because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing…” Col. 1:4-5
As I read this passage as a “mature” Christian, who is knowledgeable and well trained in Christian doctrine, once again I stumble across the word “gospel” and move on. I can easily explain it and share about it, but seldom ponder it. Today I had a chance to ponder it and it reminded me of my ignorance as well as my salvation by Jesus.
As the cliché goes, the gospel is “the good news”. It is that which the good Christian tells others if he or she is doing their “job” as a Christian. One may explain it by the Roman Road, or 4 Spiritual Laws or many other charts. As I sit and ponder this, I think it is more than a process to infinite afterlife with Christ. The gospel, as we know, is a story. It is the full story of Christ which ends with the phrases, “it is finished” and “He is risen.” This is not a story of glamour and love depicted in this world, but it is a story of real glamour and love. Like soldiers in a battle far from the main fronts receiving word that the war is over, so too is the individual who hears of the gospel and believes. The striving can cease. The worry can be nullified. The fear of death can subside. It is finished.
This does not mean the Christian simply lays around and “does nothing”. There is a rest, but also a work. Many modern people—including Christians—cringe at the word “work”. Yet, according to scriptures, work occurred before the fall (did not Adam have a job?) and is to be done (“work out your salvation”). This is not a work to gain anything, but simply to let something out. Those who believe in this so called “good news” do not have anything to gain or lose. One cannot grasp the love God has for them and therefore cannot do anything to receive more or less of this love. Those who believe in this “good news” let out what has happened.
This letting out is a tricky thing. It may come out broken as the embodiment of the individual begins to walk this new way. It may come out morally perfect. Yet, the expression of this “news” does not define the individual, but what that individual believes. As this new life emerges from a dead body (but physically living), this “good news” slowly transforms this body into a well oiled instrument, tuned to the Creator’s music. As Paul further writes in Colossians, in the same chapter, the goal of the person who believes the “good news” does not become morally perfect in everything, but attains “all steadfastness and patience” (Col. 1:11).
I have received the “good news” today. It is finished. He is risen.