I know that this will come as a shock to many of my loyal readers, but there has actually been a point to talking about hope springing form resurrection, an all-encompassing gospel generated by the incarnation, and cultivating a posture of hopefulness and largess with regard to God’s reconciliation of the world in Christ.
The point is that so reframing our understanding of the gospel is crucial for Christians recognizing that our calling entails moving out beyond the walls of the church to engage and even transform the world around us. When our gospel is bigger than just forgiveness of sins, our actions in service of the gospel can entail more than simply preaching that people should repent.
It is just such an all-encompassing understanding of the redeeming work of God that would seem to stand behind the various stories that fill out Christianity Today’s focus on Portland for its “This Is Our City” project.
When Christians believe that actual physical freedom from bondage to other human beings is part of God’s purpose for humanity they are empowered to create movements to stand against anti-sex trafficking.
When Christians recognize that Christ goes before them and that the world in all its created beauty is God’s, they are empowered to pour their lives into after school art programs that transform the lives of kids in the seemingly destitute system.
Forgiveness of sins is important, but when Jesus went out proclaiming the good news of repentance for forgiveness of sins, he enacted an all-embracing kingdom message that offered healing, hope, restoration, and wholeness of all kinds.
When we live into such a wide-ranging gospel, we can actually live in this world in such a way that we catch glimpses of the advent of the reign of God. And we can even live in such a way that those outside the church are capable of seeing our good deeds and glorifying our Father in heaven.