Here I present a short version of the basic Christian gospel announcement – attempting to be both faithful and relevant as I do so:
We all have a deep awareness that although the world is rich in beauty and wonder, it is nonetheless ‘not as it should be’. Both natural and human evil is all too real. It continually pulls the world toward chaos, ruin and isolation rather than toward order and beauty and relationship.
But a reality that we easily overlook is that evil is not just ‘out there’ in the world, but also is seen in us and our own lives. We are part of the problem.
Christianity says the same God who chose to create the world is also committed to bringing it all through to the goal always intended for it.
Within this large, universal story, God works in small, particular ways to patiently move forward his mission to rescue the world. He works through human beings.
The problem, of course, is that humans need to be set right themselves before they can be effective for God’s rescue mission.
This ‘setting right’ happens finally and fully in the person of Jesus Christ. In him, God unites to human nature, takes the weight of sin and evil onto himself (and off of us!) through his death on the Cross, and overcomes death through his resurrection.
The end goal for all creation – including humans! – has thus been achieved and glimpsed in the middle of human history. And the message of the Gospel of Jesus takes the form of ‘trust and obey’.
Trust that God has fully and finally dealt with the evil, sin and death of the whole world – including your own evil, sin and death! Obey him by joining the rescue mission to set things right!
This offer (for personal salvation) and challenge (to join God’s rescue mission) is ‘for everyone’, regardless of nationality, race, gender, education level, income level, social status, or any other division that humans invent for themselves.
This, it should be clear, is not an offer of ‘things that you’ll get from Jesus’ if you believe certain things. It’s a call to repent of your sin, trust God’s forgiveness in Jesus, and to be moved and empowered to obey Him in service in His rescue mission for the whole world.
Trust and obey!
Let me know (email@example.com) if you have read this and want to do just that.