For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
I got to thinking about this Friday, during my ride home from work. I then wondered aloud in a post if the gospel is ever used as an adjective in the Bible. Have you looked?
I came up with over 100 references to “gospel” or “good news.” Not a once do I find it used as an adjective. Some times it comes close. In Matt 4:23 it says that “…Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” But it is not the “gospel kingdom” it is the gospel OF the kingdom.
Why is this important? Our culture would like nothing better than to make Jesus Christ’s gospel a veneer, some cheap add-on used to class up the rot of the world. By layering some niceties like forgiveness, joy, love, and a good beat we might attract folks to the latest fad in Americanism.
We end up with gospel mime dance, gospel awards shows, gospel diets, gospel comedy, and other silliness. When we use the gospel this way we are taking it out of its biblical context, turning it into a covering for a culture rather than building a new culture all together. No longer the power of God for salvation it has become instead the power to attract an audience; the power to cover the smell of worldly rot.
The kingdom is, at its core, the gospel. The gospel is subversive. David Bryant preached a wonderful sermon on what it means to submit to ruling authority on Sunday. His text was, of course, Romans 13:1-7. I highly recommend it.
Let us subvert the current culture by THE Gospel and not simply apply gospel attributes to the world as we find it. Perform kingdom work and let us not just cover the world in gospel niceties. Let us make the message of Christ’s death and resurrection the very core of our labors and then the gospel kingdom will work through the world like leaven in a ball of dough. Jettison Gospel as adjective and embrace the noun.