Human beings constantly attempt to “reduce” the gospel (see blog post, The Gospel Reduced, July 23, 2010). Such reductionism occurs because of our unwillingness to allow the gospel to powerfully operate in our own lives or in the world. Instead of allowing the gospel to confront us, level our illusions of life, and reconstruct us in the image of Christ (an extremely radical approach to discipleship) we reduce it to something more manageable, something we can live with, something that fits in with our lifestyle. But let’s ignore the human attempts to reduce the gospel. Instead, let’s unpack the gospel in all of its glory.

First, the gospel is the power of God. When detonated it destroys the powers and principalities in their tracks. Such beings derive their authority over human life only to the extent that they are able to manipulate us into a position of disobedience to God. The perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, however, destroyed this authority at its root. The powers and principalities have been rendered impotent.

Next, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. By nature sin ruptures relationship. Death entered into God’s creation as He was forced to separate Himself from it due to the disobedience of the created ones. The death of Jesus satisfied this necessary consequence of sin eternally. On the cross Jesus experienced the death (i.e., separation) required by human sin. Death as eternal separation from God has been rendered empty. And God NEVER calls our physical death death. The resurrection of Jesus vindicates God’s view of that matter.

Finally, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. Belief leads to trust, trust to obedience, and obedience to repentance, confession, and entrance into Christ through baptism. In Christ God has fully restored us to perfect union with Himself. The powers can no longer touch us, our sins are no longer imputed to us, and we are now living out that new life, God’s True Life, by faith.

The challenge is to believe the gospel. The challenge is to organize our lives, individually and as a church, according to the Truth of the Gospel together with all of its radical implications. The challenge is to resist all human inclination to reduce the gospel to something manageable given our current lifestyle. The challenge is to unpack the gospel in all of its power and to allow it to shape our lives accordingly.