THE GOSPEL IS COSMIC, BUT ALSO VERY PERSONAL
Keeping in mind the larger scope of the “good news”, how does the gospel begin to immediately change individual lives and their everyday experience with him?
The early chapters of Genesis chronicle the first act of human rebellion against God. In these chapters we see a family turn away from the loving care of God himself and seek to be their own masters. As the story continues to unfold throughout the pages of scripture, we see the depths of human sin, the length to which humans will go to rule themselves and justify themselves before God.
Though God would have every right to demand that we earn back his favor and love, he offers it freely. God in his mercy pursues us and offers a renewed relationship with him through the sacrificial act of his son Jesus. He says that though you are sinful, Jesus lays down his life for you so that you can return to him.
It is not that we work off a debt to God and then try real hard to maintain the status he grants us, but that he pays our debt for us and grants to us the irrevocable status of Jesus himself. (II Corinthians. 5:21).
The gospel is not that we go from being irreligious to being religious, it’s that we realize that our reasons for both our religion and our irreligion were essentially the same and essentially wrong. We were seeking to keep control of our own life and be our own god. When we trust in Christ as offered in the Gospel, we turn from trusting either self-determination or self-denial, self-rule or diligent religiosity, and trust in Christ’s work alone.
At Intown we assume that most people have not heard or thought out the full implications of the gospel in this way. We exist to bring things “in line with the gospel” (Gal. 2:14) which renews us spiritually, psychologically, corporately, socially.
The gospel critiques both liberalism and conservatism, relativism and moralism, licentiousness and legalism, and yet does not produce “something in the middle,” but something different entirely. The gospel challenges both religion and irreligion (Matt. 21:31), and shows us a God far more holy than the legalist can bear (even your greatest spiritual achievements fall far short of God’s demand) and yet far more merciful than a humanist can conceive (he died because he loved us). This truth affects everything we do at Intown Church.