Gospel Power for a Secular Age

| December 14, 2015

The gospel has been, is, and will always be powerful in every culture—including our secular age.

Through the gospel, God still turns antagonists into his chil­dren. And through the gospel, he still forms communities who display and communicate the realities of his grace. Indeed, this gospel-powered transformation will lead in time to a life of attractive holiness and compelling love.

Gospel Power

The gospel was at work in Paul’s diverse first-century context, and the gospel is at work in our multiple 21st-century con­texts. But Paul makes clear that the gospel is more than historical data about Jesus. Even if all accept every fact—that Jesus lived, died, was raised, and appeared to a wide range of valid eyewitnesses—that alone would not mean all believe the gospel in the full scriptural sense of that term.

Thus, Paul’s listing of the historical facts of Christ’s death in 1 Corinthians 15:3–5 includes the small but significant phrase, “for our sins.” The inclusion of “for our sins” draws attention to the inherently theological nature of the gospel. The apostle is stressing that Christ’s death is central to his saving work, particularly declaring that Christ’s death is an atoning death (cf. Rom. 3:21–26).

Through his Corinthian correspondence, Paul explains that the gospel is…

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