The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a revolutionary transformational idea. As presented in scripture it is very clear cut in regard to what it is, but there are many very different ways of interpreting and implementing that truth. In this blog I plan on presenting the Incarnational Gospel, I want to clarify that as I just said there is only one Gospel (that is Salvation through the Son of God Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, crucified, and on the third day raised from the dead, now sitting at the right hand of the Father).
As I present this Incarnational Gospel I will present other “Gospels” that are other way I see of interpreting and implementing the one true Gospel. As I use titles like the Grace Gospel or the Legalistic Gospel or any other name, I hope that you will be challenged enough to think about what I am saying and respond, I will post your response and post it. I am searching for truth and need others to be willing to seek it out as well.
The Incarnational Gospel
God the Father so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son that who ever believes in Him would not die but have everlasting life. The Father sent the Son so that we would have life. Christ came in the flesh… He put on flesh…. Creator God came in a human body to earth. Jesus came and lived among a people who did not recognize Him. Scripture says that the Father is Spirit and those who worship Him must doe so in Spirit and Truth. But Jesus had to come in the flesh to redeem us. If the Father would have had another way don’t you think He would have chosen it. He didn’t like seeing His son suffer. Christ had to come in the flesh to offer redemption for our flesh.
While Christ was here he did something most Christian’s don’t realize He taught. He instructed the apostles how to live this life of faith. He gave them specific counter cultural ways to live and in Matthew 7 claimed that this teaching would be the foundation of there Faith. These ways that were presented were ways in which in there day to day interaction to live justly and freely from sin and the current sin laden cosmos. These ways were physical acts, turn the other cheek, and bless those who curse you, when you pray go into the closet, ask, seek, knock, go the second mile, and don’t look with anger…
Christ died in the flesh so that we would have a way to the Father in the spirit. He died so he could send us the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit of God. So we receive the Sprit by the death of Christ and become supernaturally united to the Triune God. Amazing. After thousands of years of being separate from God in our bodies we are once again reunited with God. Adam knew the pleasure and now through the blood of Christ Jesus we know it.
The writers of the Epistles including and especially Paul writes to congregations rebuking strange behavior in regard to Sin and begins to speak of the Flesh and the Spirit. The language He uses promotes an incorrect thought process that the spirit and the flesh are seperate. He speaks of walking in the Spirit and not satisfying the lusts of the Flesh. This is the same circumstances in the Garden of Eden we can choose to be obedient to God or choose to be disobedient this is not speaking of a separation. Paul and the early believers knew the teachings of Christ and knew them well. Paul never imagined that we would place such emphasis on His letters to first century churches and place little stock in the incarnate God’s teachings for His disciples. In Paul’s writings he was not redefining the Gospel, he was correcting sinful behavior.
Christ’s primary topic to preach and teach was the Kingdom. He spoke of the Kingdom of God being at hand. This is the new cosmos that was made available to us by the cross. It is a present reality yet it is coming. For those of us in Christ we are new creatures redeemed and made new by the blood of the lamb.
St. Francis wrote…
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair
Do you hear the language Brother Sun and Sister Moon. Francis had a glimpse of the overarching redemption plan that encompassed all of creation. The trees have always stood tall and the grass has always been faithful but we as humans fell from the position that God created us to be in. But now we have been atoned for and can come back to our position in all creation.
Scripture says to the pure all things are pure. This is where the redeemed son of God can fellowship with God, not only with Him in Worship and at in the Alter at church on Sunday, but… in the garden.
In Christ we can experience him in all creation. We live our lives yoked to the one life giving God. We go to work and see Him there, we come home and see Him in our families, and we interact with technology and see Him there. He is inescapable to those who know how to recognize Him.
But to those who are legalistic all they see is a careless life in the flesh (as we have just defined some of the terms here in this phrase I hope you are beginning to see some new truth.) They say you should be witnessing and you should be going church and you shouldn’t be watching that television program.
The Incarnational Gospel is the most freeing Gospel there is because it is based on a deep devotion to God. One based on the teachings of Jesus and maintained by a constant fellowship with the spirit of God. That foundation frees us from trying to work our way into heaven and worrying about making a good impression with people. We are free to experience the love of God and the love of people; we are free to do the unexpected, to speak a word of prophecy or to forgive someone who hurt us. We are even free to give room and air for seeds to grow in the hearts of those around us.
What is misunderstanding about this “Gospel” is that it can be mistaken for the Grace Gospel. The Grace Gospel shows signs of the same freedoms that are perceived in the Incarnate Gospel yet there is a huge chasm in between. The chasm is the will of God and the deep communion of God. The Grace Gospel is deceptively liberating because it doesn’t cost you anything, the Incarnate Gospel is liberating because is cost us everything.
Christ gave us an example that we are to follow, He was mistaken for a drunkard and He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He must have been perceived as having too much fun.
You know what… this really does sound like Good News.