What do we mean when we call Jesus “Saviour”?
Would you describe Jesus as your personal Saviour? That’s good, but that’s only a tiny fraction of what the Bible means when it calls Jesus Saviour.
Let’s try a story. What’s your favourite spy movie? You know those ones where our agents have been incarcerated in a foreign land and condemned to death. With meticulous planning, satellite intelligence, and drone support, we send in the commandos to bring them home. Commandos are the “saviours” in our culture.
The gospel is that kind of story, with more intrigue and less gunfire.
Continue reading “Jesus as Saviour”
Can you use cartoons in an academic paper? Ann Fink did. Her article is a case study I may use in ethics class.
She asks how to treat this police officer. During Algeria’s War of Independence, he presents to Dr Frantz Fanon (psychiatrist) suffering PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) as a result of his work, which involves torture. He’s not coping, and his home life is becoming increasingly violent.
The patient asks Fanon “to help him torture … with a total peace of mind.” Is it possible to treat the inspector in a meaningful way?
How would you advise the doctor?
Continue reading “Society on the couch”
When you hear the word “gospel”, do you think of God’s kingship being restored on the earth? Jesus did.
Jesus’ gospel was different to ours. Here’s how the Gospels summarize his message and mission:
Matthew 9 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
Luke 4 43 He said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
What is the gospel of the kingdom? How is it different to a gospel of personal forgiveness? Jesus’ gospel is on a different scale — the difference between liberating a prisoner and liberating a planet. Continue reading “What is the gospel of the kingdom?”
At the hinge of the book, Ephesians calls us to outwork the gospel: to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (4:1).
Previously, it explained the good news: God is reuniting humanity in the reign of his anointed. Now it explains how the good news people embody his reign: in community (4:1-16), in ourselves (4:17 – 5:20), in home and business life (5:21 – 6:9), and in the wider community (6:10-23).
Did you notice what’s missing? In a book about the gospel, he forgot to advise us on how to get the unsaved to make a decision, how to get our neighbours into church, how to get that aunt to pray the Sinner’s Prayer before she dies. Continue reading “Being good news (Ephesians 4:1-6)”
How do we respond to the news that God unites us as his family?
The gospel is the good news that God has restored peace to all the peoples of the earth through his anointed ruler (Ephesians 2). So what’s our response to this good news?
What people often do with the gospel today doesn’t match the response in Ephesians 3.
- Evangelicals try to convince individuals they’re sinners and get them saved.
- Justice warriors name and shame the regimes for their sins (systemic oppression).
But Paul doesn’t stand up to condemn individuals or regimes: Continue reading “God and the human family (Ephesians 3:14-19)”
Same apocalyptic problem (mystery); unexpectedly awesome answer (reveal)
After Babylon invaded Jerusalem and terminated the Davidic kingship, Israel was ruled by other nations. Floating adrift among the nations, they clung to their ancient stories of how God had delivered them from Pharaoh’s tyranny, committing himself to be the sovereign of their nation (covenant), giving them his wise law (Torah), and living among them to lead them (tabernacle).
But generations of Jacob’s descendants remained under foreign domination, rising and dying like the grass of the field. As nations fought and conquered each other, as empires rose and fell, Israel remained the meat in their sandwich.
They wondered how God would resolve this injustice. When would the day of the Lord arrive? How would the sovereign Lord overpower the evil that oppressed them and destroy the power of the nations? Continue reading “The apocalyptic framework of Ephesians 3”
Gospel of peace? A beatnik fabrication? A substitute for serious doctrine?
Actually, it’s in the Bible. I can see how peace would be good news for the world, but how is that the gospel? Continue reading “The gospel of peace”