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Pop Quiz: What is the Gospel? Part 2

By Dr. Steven L. Childers

“It is hard to believe that after two thousand years the Christian church is still discussing, even debating, “What is the gospel?” The gospel, the “good news,” is the fundamental truth of our faith, what we believe and proclaim to the world. If we don’t know what the gospel is, and if it doesn’t motivate everything we think and do and say, then what’s the point in claiming to be Christian at all?”   – Dr. John Frame, Theology of the Gospel (Pathway Learning book and course coming soon)

The heart of the gospel of the kingdom is about the King!

In this article, you’ll learn how the heart of the gospel of the kingdom is three things about God’s King and three promises God makes to all who will follow him in repentance and faith.

Learning Tip: Go deeper by reading the extensive footnotes.


Pop Quiz: What is the Gospel? Part 2

A Biblical Exposition of Mark 1:1-15
Dr. Steven L. Childers

At the heart of this Good News about God’s kingdom is the good news about God’s King – Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1) The Scriptures present Jesus Christ at the center of this biblical story of salvation.

In the first century, God entered the cosmic battle for the restoration of all things lost in creation in a new and amazing way through the person and work of Jesus. In the New Testament, the good news of Jesus Christ is described in three primary ways. First it’s:

I. The good news of what Jesus did
Jesus’ apostles proclaimed that there were five major historic events that Jesus did in the first century that they proclaimed as good news, including:

  1. his birth–as the eternal Son of God who humbled himself and took on humanity
  2. his life–as he lived the life that Adam, Israel, and all of us failed to live
  3. his death– as he died the death we all deserve to die, for our sin, in our place
  4. his resurrection– as he conquered death and inaugurated God’s kingdom on earth
  5. his ascension: as he ascended back to heaven where he rules from God’s right hand.[1]

Jesus’ Baptism
In Mark’s first chapter, he does not begin with Jesus’ birth, but with two dramatic scenes in the early part of Jesus life–his baptism by John and his temptation by Satan. In Jesus’ baptism he shows us how all three persons of the Trinity are at work in this story of salvation. Mark tells us that Jesus “…saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Then the Father’s voice comes from heaven saying to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark begins his gospel by calling Jesus Christ the Son of God. The phrase Son of God refers to God’s promised Messiah, his Anointed One, in the line of King David who would be God’s new Son of David and new Israel, Son of Abraham. The New Testament picks up this same concept by referring to Jesus as the new Son of Adam. This good news that Jesus is God’s Son takes on great meaning when we see what happens next in his life.

Jesus’ Temptation
In verses 12-13, Mark tells that “The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.” Matthew tells us that Satan seized Jesus’ vulnerable state of severe hunger and said, ““If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

When the first man, Adam, was tempted by Satan in the garden, he failed to obey God resulting in eternal death for humanity. But when the Son of God, the last Adam, Jesus, was similarly tempted by Satan both in the wilderness and throughout his life, he perfectly obeyed God resulting in eternal life for humanity.

The good news is that Jesus saves us just as much by his life as by his death. Jesus faced every kind of temptation known to humanity from the world, the flesh, and the devil. But unlike Adam, Israel, and us, by the power of God’s Spirit he never sinned, so that through his suffering to obey, he could earn a perfect righteousness for us, obeying all of God’s commands in thought, word, and deed.[2]

Only then could he die the death on the cross that we all deserve to die, for our sin, in our place. And be raised from the dead inaugurating God’s kingdom on earth, and then ascend back to heaven where he rules from God’s right hand until he returns.

But the Bible teaches that the good news of the gospel is not only what Jesus did, but also

II. The Good News of who Jesus is because of what he did
Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, the Bible tells us that God has now made him Savior and Lord. When the apostle Peter preached at Pentecost, he said that Jesus had been “raised from the dead and . . . exalted to the right hand of God.” This symbolic statement that Jesus is now at the right hand of God teaches us that Jesus is presently reigning and ruling in heaven as both Savior and Lord.

As Savior, he alone has the authority and power to deliver people from sin’s penalty and power over their lives. As Lord, he alone has the authority to demand that everyone, everywhere, submit to his rule over their lives. Paul writes, “God now commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.”

But the climax of this good news is not only that Jesus is Savior and Lord, but that God makes some amazing promises to all who bow before him. The promises of a 1) new standing before God of forgiveness, 2) a new heart from God by his Spirit, and 3) a new world from God when he returns.

III. The Good News of what God promises because of who he is

1) New standing of forgiveness before God,
We see in verses 4-5 that John is already proclaiming that God promises he will forgive the sins of Israel as Covenant breakers for all who repent and draw near to this coming King confessing their sins: Mark writes, “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” Here we see God’s promise to give the gift of a new standing of forgiveness to all who repent.[3]

2) New heart from the Spirit of God
But John promises those who repent, more than a new standing of forgiveness. He’s also promising them a new heart by receiving the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. In verses 7-8 Mark tells us John proclaimed, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

This is the same message of the Apostle Peter at Pentecost when he promises all who will repent these same two miraculous gifts from God. Peter says: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ – for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

By a miracle of divine grace, God promises not only to forgive you, but to plant a new life in you by his Holy Spirit. And that life is the life of God himself – a divine opposition God implants in your soul to counter the power of sin, a new nature, a new set of desires, and a new set of dispositions to know him, please him, honor him and to enjoy him as our Triune God.[4]

3) New World from God
But to all who will bow before King Jesus as Savior and Lord, God promises more than the forgiveness of sins and the gift of his Holy Spirit. He also promises a new world when Jesus returns to “restore everything” that has been lost in creation because of sin by re-establishing God’s kingdom on earth forever. In Acts 3 Peter proclaims that Jesus “… must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” Jesus called it the “new world.”[5]

Conclusion

So, what is the gospel? It’s the good news that the Father’s creation, ruined by the Fall, is being redeemed by Christ and renewed by His Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God on earth. And it’s the good news about the King: Through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, God has exalted him as reigning Lord and Savior, promising all who follow him in repentance and faith–the forgiveness of sins, the gift of God’s Spirit, and a new world when King Jesus returns to make all things new.”[6]

Your ultimate hope as a follower of Jesus is not that one day when you die you will go to heaven to worship Jesus as a disembodied spirit –as wonderful as that will be. This is because everyone who goes to heaven is making a round trip. Instead our ultimate hope is in another day when Jesus will return and bring heaven back down to earth, and unite our souls with our resurrected bodies so we can finally and fully know him, love him, enjoy him, and serve him on a new earth forever.

The good news is that then – all our relationships that were lost because of sin will finally be restored–not only our broken relationship with God but also our broken relationship with our selves, others and all of creation—“as far as the curse is found.” Revelation tells us, “The kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

So in the meantime, in verses 14-15, Jesus calls us, by his Spirit, to keep repenting and believing that the Kingdom of God is near. His voice calls us to repent of wasting our lives in the pursuit of worthless idols so we might more radically align our lives around Him and His purposes for the world in the brief time we have remaining.

The gospel is not just a gate we must pass through one time, but it’s also a path we must walk each day of our life. In repentance we keep pulling our affections away from our heart idols, things we wrongly look to for happiness, so that by faith, we can keep putting those affections back on the ascended Jesus Christ in worship.

This is how God means for us to find the streams of living water that alone can quench our soul’s thirst until that final day. John tells us one day Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever keeps believing in me, as the Scripture says, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

As we learn to keep drinking deeply from this well that is Christ, Jesus promises us that we will experience the transformation of our lives into his image and find the living waters of his Spirit flowing through us into the lives of others. This well never runs dry. Here the old hymn-writer calls us to respond:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.[7]


Footnotes:


[1] When the Apostle Paul writes the Corinthian church, he quotes what seems to be a standard summary of the good news in the first century: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Paul’s repeated use of the phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” refers to God’s purposes revealed to Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures to rescue the world after Adam and Eve sinned. Here he builds on the good news of the Old Testament that “Your God reigns.” (Is. 52:7, Rom. 10:15) But Paul’s explanation of the gospel extends beyond Jesus death and resurrection in the past (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to include Jesus’ present and future rule as the ascended King over all things by the Spirit. (1 Cor. 15:25-28) Jesus will continue his rule until he completes the mission that God the Father gave him to make all things new so that God would be “all in all.”

[2] Paul presents Jesus as the second man and the last Adam. (1 Col 15: 45-47) When the first man, Adam, was tempted in the garden, he failed to obey God resulting in eternal death for humanity (Rom. 5:12-14). But when the second man, Jesus, was similarly tempted throughout his life, he perfectly obeyed God resulting in eternal life for humanity. (Rom 5:18-19).

[3] This good news is that God, as judge, forgives us through Jesus’ blood and accepts us through his righteousness. This means that God now considers the horrible record of all our sins to be on Jesus, and the perfect record of all Jesus’ obedience (his righteousness) to be ours. God, as Father, now promises to forgive, accept, and love those who believe in Christ just as He accepts and loves his one and only Son. Our broken relationship with God is restored. 

[4] This good news is that God promises to deliver those who believe in Christ from sin’s domineering power by not only breaking the crippling power of sin (Rom. 6), but also freely giving them a new heart and a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to empower them to know, honor, and enjoy Him forever. Our broken relationship with ourselves is restored.

[5] This good news is that on that day we will be made new in both soul and body and delivered not only from sin’s penalty and power, but also its influence and presence. Creation will be restored and God will dwell with his redeemed people in a new heavens and new earth. God will redeem and restore this fallen, corrupt world and then rule over it with his people forever. Our broken relationship with creation (e.g. our work, our vocation) is restored as we serve God with the fullness of our gifts and passions forever.

[6] The Apostle Paul teaches that the highest blessing of the gospel for believers is being united to God “in Christ.” From this mystical union with God flows all the riches of Christ’s redemption including God’s multi-faceted promises of a new status with God as forgiven (propitiation), accepted (justification), and adopted (adoption), a new heart (regeneration) from God that is freed from sin’s dominance (sanctification) by his Spirit, and a new world (glorification) from God in the age to come. When we are united to Christ through faith, we’re given a very rich and remarkable spiritual inheritance in him. Like a child born into a royal family, it takes time for us to realize the full extent of the riches of our birthright. Faith requires a continual rehearsing and delighting in the many promises and privileges that are now ours because we are in union with God in Christ. Each doctrine related to the gospel helps us understand the many facets of all the spiritual blessings we now have in Christ. In the gospel we see the multi-colored splendor of our new life in Jesus Christ and find the divine remedy for our broken lives and world.

[7]I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say by Horatius Bonar, 1846, Public Domain. Watch and worship with this video using a beautiful Celtic tune with this hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74kyfROS4q8


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Pop Quiz: What is the Gospel? Part 1

By Dr. Steven L. Childers

“It is hard to believe that after two thousand years the Christian church is still discussing, even debating, “What is the gospel?” The gospel, the “good news,” is the fundamental truth of our faith, what we believe and proclaim to the world. If we don’t know what the gospel is, and if it doesn’t motivate everything we think and do and say, then what’s the point in claiming to be Christian at all?” – Dr. John Frame, Theology of the Gospel (Pathway Learning book and course coming soon)

See first how the Bible unfolds the good news in history.

In this first of two articles, you’ll learn how the Bible gives us a broad understanding of the gospel in several unfolding historical events that reveal the Triune God’s purpose for the whole universe and in particular the human race.

Learning Tip: Go deeper by reading the extensive footnotes.


What is the Gospel? Part 1

A Biblical Exposition of Mark 1:1-15
Dr. Steven L. Childers

For more than two decades I taught a required seminary course for first-year, first-semester students, and I always began that class with a surprise pop quiz. To calm the students down I told them this quiz would not be graded, but it’s one of the most important questions they will be asked in seminary and life.

Then came the question, “What is the gospel?” I did this for more than twenty years and read hundreds of their answers. I never got a wrong answer. But most of the answers were incomplete. So, without further ado, it’s time for a pop quiz!  How would you answer the question, “What is the gospel?”[1]

The essence of the gospel can be summarized by saying things like “Jesus loves you,” and “God will forgive you if you believe in Jesus.”[2] But the Scriptures call us to go deeper in our understanding of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.

The reason we all need to understand the gospel more deeply is not just so that we can be prepared to answer a quiz question, but so that we can know deeper levels of God’s love and forgiveness of us, experience greater levels of his power at work in and through us, and find unparalleled hope as we experience the inevitable pain and suffering in life.

So let’s look at how the Apostle Mark helps us understand the gospel in Mark 1:1-15 in which his first verse reads, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” In these verses we learn that the gospel is primarily two things: 1) good news about God’s kingdom coming to earth, and 2) It’s good news about God’s king who is bringing it.[3]

Good news about God’s kingdom coming to earth
In verses 1-3, Mark begins his explanation of the gospel by quoting God’s promise to Israel through Isaiah (Is. 40:1-5) to send them a messenger to prepare them for “the way of the Lord” – the coming of God’s king and his kingdom on earth forever. And in verses 4-8 Mark identifies John the Baptist as this promised messenger.

To understand the good news that Mark is explaining about John the Baptist, we first need to understand the gospel’s backstory in history. The Bible teaches that history is not a meaningless cycle of events.[4] It is a grand narrative with a beginning and an end. Although the Bible contains a wide variety of literature, at its core it is one story that God means to so captivate us, that we are drawn into its plot to find our place.[5]

But in order to find where John the Baptist fits in this story, and our place in this story, we must first know where the story began, where it is now, and where it’s ultimately going. It can be helpful to think of the Good News of God’s kingdom coming to earth as a five-act play:

In Act One we find the story of creation’s perfect harmony, the picture of ultimate happiness and wholeness in the world that God created by establishing his kingdom on the earth where his will was done perfectly. In the beginning heaven and earth were one. It was literally heaven on earth and human flourishing in a paradise where we had a perfect relationship with God, ourselves, others, and our work.

In Act Two evil enters the story through Satan, who overthrows God’s kingdom on earth by tempting Adam and Eve resulting in the fall of humanity. Things are no longer the way they’re supposed to be as humanity and creation are now under God’s just curse and Satan’s rule. Now we stand before God guilty and condemned, and our hearts are corrupt. As a result, our world is also corrupt and filled with injustice and pain.

But, soon after the fall, God proclaims the gospel for the first time to Satan when he curses him for what he did to overthrow his kingdom (Gen. 3:15). In that curse, God promises to send a deliverer, called the “Seed of the Woman”, who will defeat Satan and restore fallen humanity and the world to be God’s kingdom on the earth again.

In Act Three God begins to bring his kingdom back to earth, first through individuals like Adam and Noah, then through Abraham and the nation of Israel under the leadership of people like Moses and David.

God did this by making a series of covenants with his people, promising to send them a deliverer who would bless them and make them a blessing to all the nations of the world. But the bad news is that Israel, like Adam, failed to obey God’s covenant obligations and turned away from God. As a result, Israel came under God’s curse and were brought into captivity by foreign enemies.

But God did not break his covenant promises to redeem and restore his fallen humanity and creation and establish his kingdom on the earth. Instead, while Israel was still in captivity, God declared through his prophets the amazing good news of a New Covenant. In this New Covenant God promised to fulfill all his own covenant obligations through a Son of David, a Messiah King, who would redeem and restore his fallen people and creation to be his kingdom on earth again.

Act Four
Four hundred years passed after the completion of the Old Testament until the time that John the Baptist and Jesus show up in Act Four. John’s ministry and message recorded in Mark 1 is at the beginning of this act. The time had finally arrived for God’s promised king to come and make all things new by establishing God’s kingdom on earth. So Israel needed to be prepared by repenting and being baptized by John.

In the next scenes in Act 4, recorded later by Mark, we see Jesus’ ministry of preaching and miracles proving he was the promised King who had the power to make everything right again. But he chose a very surprising way to do it – by dying in weakness on a cross. It was only by taking God’s just curse that Adam, Israel, and we deserve on himself that he could satisfy God’s holy justice and deal a fatal blow to Satan so that our relationship with his Father and our rule with him on earth could be restored.

Then in his resurrection he proves the success of his rescue mission by conquering death and inaugurating God’s kingdom on earth revealing himself as the first born from the dead of many on the resurrection day. Forty days after his resurrection, he ascends back to the Father and pours out his Spirit on his church for the advancement of God’s kingdom and will on earth until he returns to finish what he began.[6]

In Act Five we find the return of Christ and the consummation of his Kingdom on earth where all things that were lost because of sin will be restored in the new heavens and the new earth for eternity.[7] When Jesus returns, there will be a great division. As Judge, he will separate all who are not his followers from his presence in hell. But his people will be ushered into a perfect, new creation. Revelation describes it as a fully restored kingdom on earth where God’s people from all nations will experience heaven on earth again as it was at the beginning under God’s perfect will – but it will be even better than Eden because sin will no longer be possible.[8]

So, what is the gospel? It’s the good news about God’s kingdom coming to earth in all these acts in human history. It’s the good news that God’s creation, ruined by sin, has been redeemed by Jesus Christ and is being restored by his Holy Spirit into God’s kingdom on earth. Jesus called it the good news of the Kingdom.[9]

This means that we are living in a unique period of history – between the resurrection of Jesus in his first coming and his restoration of all things in his second coming. We’re between his inauguration of the kingdom on earth in the first century and his consummation of the kingdom on earth when he returns to make all things new.

God’s story is still being written. And the only way for us to make sense of our story is to understand how it fits into God’s story. With so many acts in the divine drama of history having already unfolded, and with the final act already firmly in place, God’s call on your life is to continue this story by aligning your purposes with his.[10]

This means that you are not an accident. You were born at this time in history for a reason. Even all your struggling and suffering is a vital part of God’s unique purpose for your life. You are designed to make a difference in the world. God has ordained your life to be a part of something much bigger than you ever dreamed or imagined.

God is calling you to make your own contribution to this supreme restoration project—which is God’s restoration of all things that have been lost in the fall and corrupted by evil–and that includes the restoration of people’s broken relationships with God, themselves, others, and creation–starting with your own.[11]


Editor’s note: Next week, in “What is the Gospel Part 2” we’ll study the heart of this good news about God’s kingdom – the good news about God’s King, Jesus Christ the Son of God.


Footnotes:


[1] One of my greatest joys as a seminary professor was spending an entire semester examining with these first-year students what the Scriptures teach about the gospel, and then, at the end of the term, passing back their written answers to them and telling them their final exam question is to compare and contrast their earlier answer with their answer now.

[2] In the Bible God has made the meaning of the gospel simple enough for a child to understand and yet profound enough for scholars to study it all their lives and barely tap the depth. A world-renowned bible scholar (Karl Barth) was allegedly once asked in a public forum discussion to summarize the core essence of all Christian theology in one single sentence. He wisely and famously responded, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

[3] For a more in-depth exposition of the gospel, see the Applied Theology Series Volume 5, “The Gospel in Theology” by Steven L. Childers and John M. Frame, published by Pathway Learning.

[4] The reason it’s so important for us to know the unfolding story of God’s purpose for the world is because our understanding of universal history is what gives our lives meaning. The way people understand the meaning of their lives depends on how they see the big picture of the human story and where they see themselves fitting into it. When we lose the bible’s true story about history, we lose the power to withstand other false stories that rob us of joy and meaning. There are different stories being told about the big picture today. One teaches that the world and humanity came into being through a mysterious and random convergence of mass and energy over billions of years for no reason and for no apparent purpose. The other story is about God’s good creation, the fall of humanity and the world, God’s redemption and restoration of what was lost in the fall, and of the coming consummation of his creation purposes when he will make all things new for eternity. The greatest battle today is the battle for the minds and hearts of people. This battle can only be won by recovering the overarching, life-altering, culture-transforming, story of the bible–called the good news of the kingdom.

[5] Historically Christians have understood God’s purpose for the world through the lens of the Bible. The problem is that a Christian can know all the stories in Bible, and even master Christian doctrine, and still not know this greater unfolding story of God’s overarching purpose for humanity and the world. Clowney called this “The Story in the Stories” that believers often miss. See Edmund P. Clowney, The Church: Contours of Christian Theology, 13-48, 155-198, IVP, 1995.

[6] Jesus’ ministry on earth did not end when he ascended back to heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Instead, that was just the beginning. Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) Jesus is referring to the greater impact that his ministry on earth will have after his ascension to the throne of God through his people, the Church, by the power of his Holy Spirit.

[7] The early church father Augustine (354-430 AD) describes the essence of God’s saving work in Jesus Christ as restoring all things lost in the fall by using a series of Latin couplets that describe God as “Former and Re-Former,” “Creator and Re-Creator,” and “Maker and Re-Maker.” Augustine presents to us the essence of salvation in Christ as transformation, seeing creation as formation, the fall as deformation, and redemption as reformation. Likewise, in his theological writings from the late nineteenth century, Herman Bavinck concludes from Scripture that the essence of salvation is “Grace restores nature.” See Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, ed. John Bolt, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006) 577.

[8] “Paul teaches that God’s redemptive plan encompasses heaven and earth. Its penultimate goal is to restore cosmic wholeness by unifying heaven and earth in the Messiah (Eph. 1:9–10); its ultimate goal is that once again, God would be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).  See John J. Hughes, The Transforming Power of Christ’s Love, in Scripture and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Wayne Grudem, p 138.

[9] This understanding of the gospel includes a robust biblical doctrine of creation that far transcends a narrow focus on what happened at the beginning. It’s a vision of God’s lordship over the whole universe he has made, both at the beginning, and for all time. It is a view of God’s salvation that is as wide as creation, reaching beyond the redemption of souls to the redemption all things (e.g. Paul’s teaching in Col. 1). See Herman Bavinck’s masterful exposition of this view of the gospel as “Re-formation” of fallen creation in his Reformed Dogmatics,Volume 4,Holy Spirit and New CreationThe Transformation of Creation, 716-727.

[10] Your purpose in life as an individual member of Christ’s body is linked directly to God’s purpose for his corporate body, the church—to be the embodiment of the rule of Jesus Christ on earth by demonstrating to all nations now a preview of God’s kingdom that has not yet come. This understanding of God’s mission gives a deep sense of purpose to followers of Christ in both their private and public lives. Sin takes not only private forms in individual lives, but also public structural forms in society. And no part of culture is neutral, so there is always an ongoing, cosmic battle with evil in all spheres of life. But the good news is that the supremacy of Jesus’ Lordship extends over every area of life; it is not restricted to the sphere of personal salvation or the church. As the former prime minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, famously said “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!” See Abraham Kuyper. Sphere Sovereignty. In Bratt, James D., Abraham Kuyper: A Reader Eerdmans, 1998.

[11]Jesus’ union with his church is so strong that you, as one of his followers, now share in his ongoing ministry as prophet, priest, and king, in the world. In your prophetic role you proclaim and uphold God’s truth in a world filled with lies. In your priestly role you pray and intercede for others to experience God’s mercy and blessing. And in your kingly role you use all your resources to help make God’s invisible kingdom more visible, not only in human hearts, but over all things. Ref: Richard Lovelace, Renewal as a Way of Life, 131-158, Wipf & Stock, 2002.

[12] When the Apostle Paul writes the Corinthian church, he quotes what seems to be a standard summary of the good news in the first century: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Paul’s repeated use of the phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” refers to God’s purposes revealed to Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures to rescue the world after Adam and Eve sinned. Here he builds on the good news of the Old Testament that “Your God reigns.” (Is. 52:7, Rom. 10:15) But Paul’s explanation of the gospel extends beyond Jesus death and resurrection in the past (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to include Jesus’ present and future rule as the ascended King over all things by the Spirit. (1 Cor. 15:25-28) Jesus will continue his rule until he completes the mission that God the Father gave him to make all things new so that God would be “all in all.”

[13] Paul presents Jesus as the second man and the last Adam. (1 Col 15: 45-47) When the first man, Adam, was tempted in the garden, he failed to obey God resulting in eternal death for humanity (Rom. 5:12-14). But when the second man, Jesus, was similarly tempted throughout his life, he perfectly obeyed God resulting in eternal life for humanity. (Rom 5:18-19).


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Praying the Benediction

Steve —  September 17, 2021 — Leave a comment

Theology of Hope: Praying the Benediction

By Drs. John M. Frame and Steven L. Childers

Why does the traditional Lord’s Prayer end with a benediction that is not in most Bible’s today? Should we still pray this benediction? If so, how?

Why does the Lord’s Prayer end with a benediction that Jesus probably did not mention?

In the conclusion of the Theology of Hope course, you’ll learn why church leaders probably added this benediction to the Lord’s Prayer (based on King David’s temple prayer) and why you should pray it.


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Read the Conclusion of the Theology of Hope: A Biblical Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer below.

Learning Tip: Go deeper by reading the footnotes!


Conclusion

A Biblical Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer 
Drs. John M. Frame and Steven L. Childers

Conclusion
The traditional ending of the Lord’s Prayer includes the benediction “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matt. 6:13). It’s not included in many modern Bible translations because it’s not in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.[1]

Church leaders probably added this benediction to the end of the Lord’s Prayer as a part of a public worship liturgy.[2] It seems to be based on King David’s temple prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13.

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”

David shows the God-centered nature of his temple prayer by his repeated use of the second person pronouns “yours” and “you.” David repeatedly prays phrases like, “Yours, O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty … Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted …” We see echoes of David’s prayer in the benediction, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen”

The ultimate goal of the three horizontal petitions in the Lord’s Prayer–for our daily bread, our forgiveness, and our protection–is to see our Father’s answers to the three vertical petitions for his name to be honored, his kingdom to come, and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Our Father uses our daily needs, sinful failures, and temptations to keep drawing us near to himself so that through his ongoing provisions of our daily bread, forgiveness, and protection, he sweeps us up into his higher purposes for the world to see his name honored, his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven–through us.

God’s primary purpose for creating the world is so that all the nations would glorify, worship and find their joy in Him. This is why we exist–to glorify God by enjoying Him and helping to extend the worship and enjoyment of God to all nations.

The Christian hope is that when Jesus returns he will make all things new so that God the Father will be honored and glorified in everything forever. (1 Cor. 15:24-25, 28) In the meantime, Jesus calls us to join with him and pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Footnotes:


[1] The traditional doxology is found in the majority of New Testament Greek manuscripts (Textus Receptus and Majority Text) including the Greek uncials dating from the 5th-10th century and the Greek minuscules dating from the 9th-12th century. This is why the doxology is included in the English KJV and NKJV versions. But the doxology is not found in the earlier and best Greek manuscripts, including א, B, D, f1, various Latin and Coptic versions, and numerous church fathers. It’s also not found in Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2-4. So, most modern English Bible translations do not include it or it’s placed in a margin or footnote, e.g. RSV and NIV.

[2] So, it’s fine for believers to use this doxology to conclude the prayer, but it should not be seen as belonging to Jesus’ teaching.


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