Greater: What is the Gospel?
Hebrews 10:1-18 | Ryan Falls, Senior Pastor
The gospel is an announcement of good news. In Jesus, God is reconciling the world to himself. If a Jesus transformation is to truly happen in our lives, church, and world, we must have clarity about what this means personally and cosmically. Trusting this good news has implications for both our present and future.
I. There’s an unsolvable problem (10:1-4)
- What it is:
Sin: Our participation in or promotion of anything that destroys God’s creation design, whether actively or passively
All sin has first and finally a Godward force. Let us say that a sin is any act — any thought, desire, emotion, word, or deed — or its particular absence, that displeases God and deserves blame.11 Let us add that the disposition to commit sins also displeases God and deserves blame, and let us therefore use the word sin to refer to such instances of both act and disposition.12 Sin is a culpable and personal affront to a personal God. But once we possess the concept of shalom, we are in position to enlarge and specify this understanding of sin. God is, after all, not arbitrarily offended. God hates sin not just because it violates his law but, more substantively, because it violates shalom, because it breaks the peace, because it interferes with the way things are supposed to be. (Indeed, that is why God has laws against a good deal of sin.) God is for shalom and therefore against sin.
- What it’s done
- To us
- To our world
Though we cannot always measure culpability for it, we do know that sin possesses appalling force. We know that when we sin, we pervert, adulterate, and destroy good things. We create matrices and atmospheres of moral evil and bequeath them to our descendants. By habitual practice, we let loose a great, rolling momentum of moral and spiritual evil across generations. By doing such things, we involve ourselves deeply in what theologians call corruption.
II. There’s an extraordinary solution (10:5-11)
- The Gospel: Through who Jesus is and what he has done, God has done everything needed to fix all that went wrong in the Fall, and he invites us to get in on it.
Jesus’ incarnation was much more than just a kind of visit from the Creator. It was the launching of God’s full and final counteroffensive against all the sin, death, and destruction that had entered the world.
III. There’s real hope in the tension (10:11-18)
- This is already true, and not fully realized
We may say that in the possession of the Spirit we who are in Christ have a foretaste of the blessings of the age to come, and a pledge and guarantee of the resurrection of the body. Yet we have only the firstfruits. We look forward to the final consummation of the kingdom of God, when we shall enjoy these blessings to the full
- The gospel speaks to every part of our lives
When Christ died, we died, and when Christ rose, we rose… We are quite literally re-created or resurrected. Salvation is not merely a case of believing something that happened thousands of years ago. We are not saved by a belief. We are saved by union with a person.
- We are forgiven
Jesus is the conqueror of death because he is none other than the creator of life. Now the story is told. The wound of the garden is healed. On resurrection morning God was able again to say what he had exclaimed over his creation so long ago: “It is good. It is very good.”
–Michael D. Williams