Gospel means “good message” but just how good is this good message? In my experience, the language we use to describe it does not fully encompass what the Bible teaches. We hear a lot of talk of the idea of gospel being confined to God forgiving sins (sometimes including a reason = “because Jesus died on the cross”). Forgiveness is good news, but leaves a lot undone. Are we forgiven if we don’t confess our sins? What happens between confessions? What if we don’t repent or aren’t repentant enough? Does being forgiven depend on what we do or fail to do? If our failures need forgiveness, don’t our failures prevent us from doing what forgiveness depends on? And what about succeeding at what the law requires of us? So far, we have only considered breaking the law. What about keeping the law?
The Bible teaches at least two critical truths about God’s forgiveness:
- References to God’s forgiveness occur in the perfect passive form of the verb = sins have been and remain forgiven by God, and
- God’s loving and eternal nature mean that we have been and remain forgiven from before the foundation of the world, thus God is not required to deal with us according to our failure in regard to the law, but according to His mercy (Psalm 103:10).
As stated above, this is good news indeed but there is much, much more, coming in the weeks ahead.