Thursday, April 08, 2010
A Total Gospel
"Some think of the gospel as so slender it does nothing more than get us into the kingdom. After that the real work of transformation begins. But a biblically-faithful understanding of the gospel shows that gospel to be rich, powerful, the wisdom of God and the power of God, all we need in Christ. It is the gospel that saves us, transforms us, conforms us to Christ, prepares us for the new heaven and the new earth, establishes our relations with fellow-believers, teaches us how to work and serve so as to bring glory to God, calls forth and edifies the church, and so forth. This gospel saves — and ’salvation’ means more than just ‘getting in,’ but transformed wholeness."Why do we work so hard to "condense" Christianity, the gospel if you must, when it is such a broad and wonderful thing? The answer, of course, is so that we can control it.
Science and theology, or even just a definition of 'gospel', when filtered through human nature have the same problem - they both think they understand everything. We want to understand the work of God - in His creation and in us. The endeavor to have that understanding is a worthwhile one, but it is one doomed to failure.
The cat that currently occupies my lap is deeply curious about the figures that are appearing on the screen as I write. He is studying them carefully. He no doubt is developing a model of how it all works. He knows for certain that if he wants me to stroke him, he must interfere in some way with the typing. He studies long, he experiments, and he tries desperately to understand.
But he does not ever truly understand. But he is not stupid. After a while, he figures out that it is pretty good to just sit down and purr. He in in my lap, it is warm and I will stroke him whenever I stop to think about the next sentence.
We can never truly understand what God is doing in the world or in us. That's what Carson is talking about. It is so thorough, so pervasive, that it refuses to be contained in our little boxes of understanding.
Maybe what we need to do is just sit down and start to purr?