Growing up in a Christian home, rarely did a week go by that I didn’t hear some comment about “salvation,” “the gospel,” or “the good news.” Each of these terms brought with them an evangelistic fervor and zeal- souls were meant to be saved and the good news to be proclaimed! And while I commend this zeal and believe passionately in the conversion of life to the good news of Jesus, I regret the way in which this message often carried with it a fearful and frenetic tone, as though God’s Kingdom could crumble at any moment, so get on board quick.
Over the years, many scholars have pointed out that the good news of the gospel is most closely compared to the news brought back to a city from the battlefield: “Victory is ours and the kingdom is secure!” The death and resurrection of Jesus is this securing of this victory and the establishment of the reign of King Jesus. As such, the gospel is not a formula to be shared but is a reality to be encountered. Similarly, it is not simply a set of disembodied beliefs to accept as much as it is allegiance to be given.
This is the pastoral heart we see in Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. He is writing to a church that heard the good news of God’s victory in Jesus, yet is now struggling to live and “hold firmly” to the way of life that this Kingdom demands of its citizens. Ancient Corinth would have made Vegas look tame. It was a city of indulgent pleasure and passion, and for many early converts they wanted to cling to this way of life while still professing to be walking the way of the cross.
The Christian life always begins with the proclamation and reception of the good news of Jesus. Yet that is just the beginning, and in every age Christians have spent their entire life as spiritual infants, never moving into a mature faith in which we root ourselves in Jesus and stand fully upon His promises, conforming every area of our lives to the way of His Kingdom.
Do you believe life in God’s Kingdom will lead to your flourishing and is ultimately for your good? So often our resistance to stand firm as citizens in his Kingdom comes from our fear of giving full allegiance in every area of our lives. The LORD longs for you to enter into the rest and safety of his Kingdom, so hold on to hope by giving yourself to Jesus freely and fully in every area of your life.