the power of the Gospel message

christians studying

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).

For three weeks we have considered these three verses.  As Paul, at the end of his life, chained in a Roman dungeon for his faith, reminds Timothy and reminds us of precisely what the Gospel is: “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel….”  And that even when we find ourselves in the most dismal of life circumstances, the message of the Gospel is unchained: “This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s Word is not chained.”

However, if we fail to live up to the Gospel, or if we define Gospel in some lesser way, we in fact are capable of chaining it.  Don’t hear me wrong, the message of the Gospel is powerful, and compelling, and without restraint.  But if there are any constraints on the message lived out in our lives as individuals or as a church they are placed there by us.

And as the Apostle writes to Timothy, in this the last letter we have from his pen, perhaps days before his death, he includes a word of perspective.  “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

What greater message is there for the church today?  That all of life is to be lived for the purpose of the Kingdom.  “For the sake of the elect.”  Our situations do not define us.  We are defined by our Lord.  “Salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  And because of our identify in Christ and the wonder of the Gospel message we embrace a divine reality.  And we transcend the here and now.  And we call others to join us, to follow us, as we follow Christ.  This is the power of the Gospel message.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel….”

Glory to God!

Jason

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