Saturday, July 18, 2015

The "Full" Gospel

  Last week, I started a series in Ephesians dealing with the teaching regarding Salvation in that particular New Testament book. As I shared with you, I have some concerns about the typical version of the gospel: if you believe like me, if you act like me, if you become a part of my church, then you'll be saved. If not, you're out of luck. Doesn't sound much like "good news" to me.
  And in my sermon last week I addressed the idea that the reach of the gospel goes much farther than just people "like me" to include the whole human family. But that can still keep the framework for God's saving work in the realm of redeeming individuals. And, in my opinion, that is "too small" a Gospel. One of my favorite theologians says it's a "truncated" view of Salvation.
  What would a "full" version of the Gospel look like? Well, it includes not only all people but all of creation. And I use the word all in an all-inclusive manner: the whole cosmos. That is the message of Ephesians--that the saving power of God poured into this created order through Jesus' death and resurrection is enough to transform all that is. It is not just a matter of rescuing a few individuals, or even all individuals. It is a matter of "making the whole of creation new" (Rev. 21:5, New Jerusalem Bible). 
  This week, we will look at how that affects our relationships. St. Paul particularly addresses the hostility that has plagued the human family from the beginning. He says that Christ's act of redemption has enough power to reconcile the whole human family--not only to God but also to each other.
  Although our world continues to be divided and plagued by hostility, as we saw again so painfully this week, I believe that Christ's death and resurrection introduced enough saving power to accomplish this. We will not see that full accomplishment of this "peace" that he has made for us until the final day, but in the meanwhile, with our faith and hope and love we can sow seeds of this gospel peace in our world that so sorely needs it.

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