The Weekly Perspective

by Burke Shade, Assistant Pastor

In our day, the church has so personalized the gospel that all gospel presentations, all gospel tracts, focus primarily upon the individual and his/her salvation/standing before God. Rarely, if ever, is the church or the body of Christ mentioned in these presentations. And so, you wouldn’t be remiss to think the gospel really means, “Jesus saves me from the devil’s grip, or from my own sins.”

In theological terms, many of the Reformers, following Luther, made the gospel presentation a theological platform: salvation is justification by faith. If you understand justification by faith, then you can be saved.

But justification by faith isn’t new in the gospels, when Jesus shows up on the scene. Abraham, the example of faith, was justified by faith 2500 years earlier, or, going back to Adam, who believed the Lord’s promise that his wife would be blessed with children, and so named her Eve, the mother of all living. He believed in faith.

So what’s new with the gospel? Why all the angels and shekinah glories and prophetical excitement? It’s not even that God is king, as Psalm 22:28 proclaims: “For kingship belongs to Yahweh and he rules over the nations.” But this is MUCH closer to all the hubbub! Why? Because Jesus is Yahweh come in the flesh, and he is the King! Kingship now belongs to the God-man, Jesus, Son of David. Now, Jesus IS Lord! Jesus is the king. That’s what’s new in the gospels: Jesus rules over all the nations, and there is a man on the throne of all the world. By Pentecost the transformation of the world order is complete: the Spirit of Jesus has come down upon men, and a man is ruling from heaven.

So, yes, salvation is personal. And it is also political: Jesus is Lord. Not only of you, but of all the world. Joy to the world!