Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Gospel Drama

Here are a couple of things I want to keep in mind as I read through Romans.
  1. Octavius Winslow: "Search the Scriptures, my reader, with a view of seeing and knowing more of your Redeemer, compared with whom nothing else is worth knowing or making known."  [Thanks to the Foolish Galatian for this quote.] To know more of my Redeemer, then, is my highest priority.
  2. Michael Horton defines the Gospel as the good news that "God has fulfilled his promise to the patriarchs and prophets in his son's death and resurrection." This is the epic drama that lies behind all correct doctrinal teaching, all true worship, all true living by faith and doing of justice and mercy, etc. [Thanks to Tim Chester for this one.]
The Gospel, then, is a story, a drama, with God as the prime mover, revealing the righteousness of God (in fact, the only righteousness in the universe) through the ministry, death, and resurrection of his son, Jesus. On our side, it is the drama of transformation, a kind of travail as in childbirth, as something glorious is brought forth from something fallen and paltry and ridden with sin. As the ESV Study Bible puts it:
[Paul's gospel] included not just a call to initial saving faith but Paul's entire message about Jesus Christ and how Christ's saving activity transforms all of life and all of history.
The gospel, again, is this story, this unfolding drama. The drama of the Christian life is the receiving of this good news, trusting it, and the transformation of life that results. This is the drama of God played out in the life of man, individually and collectively.

This transformation, clearly, is from unrighteousness to righteousness, and it is witnessed in the lives of the faithful. Faith then is our part in the drama. The unrighteous, having been served by God in Christ, accept and receive this gift, and this accepting and receiving, this faith, plays out in the midst of a perversely skewed creation: that is our part, our role, in the great drama. Like all drama, it is not without conflict, set-backs, and even tragedy. But in the midst of it all, the fact of what God has done remains unshakable. The news is good, indeed. He has entered into our situation, and accomplished what no other could. With excellent reason then Paul, as an apostle of God in Christ, can declare to the Romans, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

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