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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Fulfilled Gospel, Articulated

Is the Gospel of Jesus the Christ still relevant in this day & age? If it's all fulfilled, do passages like John 3:16 hold any meaning for those of us living in the 21st century? Must we be 'born again' today, in order to enter the Kingdom, or have we inherited the blessings of the Resurrection? These questions & more may be answered in this short article, but many more like them may be engendered!

Lately, we have explored, to some degree, the notion that we, as followers of the Christ & in fact, Christ-bearers, are the Son of God! As the first Adam was given dominion over the 'beasts of the field', and Israel, under that first covenant was made to be 'a nation of priests', so we, as the Body of Christ, are to continue to spread & share the Good News of the Presence of our Heavenly Father & His Kingdom! To be sure, we are simply The Temple of the Holy Spirit, and His Power overshadows us still, but the influence that is brought to bear in us is well-nigh infinite!


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

The context of Jesus' words here demands that we understand that Jesus had come to die in place of His people Israel & that whoever from that world accepted Him as Messiah would have The Eternal & Supernal Gift He offered! This Promise, however, though fulfilled to the Remnant of Israel, is translated to those who would afterwards believe on Him ( John 17:20 )! According to a Fulfilled Gospel, even those who believe in Him today as the Savior & King of His People can enjoy that Promised & Eternal Rest!

Our Heavenly Father, yes, loved that 'world' so that He gave His only Begotten Son, but He loved His entire Creation so much ( as any good father ) that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for His entire Creation ( I John 2:2 )! In this sense, then, we may witness to the universal facet of the Gospel! Although the original Good News was revealed, in the first century A.D., to those living in a certain region or area in the Ancient Near East, the Gospel is to & for all men & women everywhere ( Luke 2:14 )! The angel, or messenger, told Joseph that Mary's Blessed Child would 'save His people from their sins' ( Matthew 1:21 )! This Gospel, in its first century context, was given first of all to the Jew ( Hebrew ) & then, as the apostle Paul revealed, or rather reminded his Jewish contemporaries of, to the Gentiles as well & from there to the uttermost parts of the earth!

Jesus told Nicodemus, not that he ( singular ) must be 'born again', but that this new ( spiritual ) birth must occur before his people could inherit the Promised Kingdom! As a true representative of his people ( Jews ), Nicodemas understood Jesus to be speaking in a physical sense, but Jesus never meant to convey a physical truth! The apostle later wrote hard sayings such as 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God' ( I Corinthians 15:50 ); how else are we to understand this statement if not spiritually?

We have noted previously that these truths are 'spiritually discerned' ( I Corinthians 2:14 ); it is only by understanding them thusly that we can glean any hope at all from such a statement! For instance, if 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God'  ( in a biological & individual sense ) because if this is understood in a physical biological sense, we will never enter, or see, the Kingdom of God! From a futurist perspective, where we will be resurrected to physically perfect biological bodies, we ( individually ) will never see His Kingdom, even after we die! 

The Gospel of Jesus the Christ is the Good News ( for ALL men & women ) that Heaven came to Earth, that our Heavenly Father now dwells with ( in ) His People & that we His People HAVE inherited His Kingdom! Covenantally speaking, only those who are obedient to the terms of that Covenant will enjoy the blessings of this Marriage, but ALL live within the confines of that Covenat, whether they realize it or not & whether they like it or not! 

May we ever live this Truth, prayerfully & humbly realizing that, as Christ-bearers, Christophers, if you will, we represent the Fulfilled Good News of Jesus the Christ before the entire world! Let us hope that in this coming New Year, we can all do a better job of bearing ( witness to ) the Gospel of the Kingdom! Let us be the 'thousand points of light' that we were made to be ( Daniel 12:3 )' as we ever witness to this Fulfilled Gospel! Let it be fulfilled in us!

Charles Haddon Shank








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