Last week I contended that the problem within the Church is that we have become so familiar with the Gospel that we have forgotten its power. But what is the Gospel exactly? Where does it reach and what is the extent of its effect?
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:3-5, ESV
This is the essence and the simplicity of the Gospel as summarised by Paul. Despite its simplicity we know that it has implications for our whole lives as Christians. Is there a wider effect of the Gospel. We know that through Adam’s sin in the garden sin entered the world1 and the whole earth now groans in anticipation of being released from sin2. The earth will be made new again in the end3. Does the Gospel therefore give us a hope that things can be made better on the earth, at least for a time? We know that perfection will not come, but it would seem that in the West the rise and dominance of Christianity has lead to prosperity and a general societal improvement for all. Is this something that we should count on as an outworking of the Gospel, or was this just an historical anomaly?
Can the Gospel redeem the culture around us?