Here’s a rundown of where we’ve been so far!
- Part 1 – The Gap In My Ministry. This post looks at how our students respond to questions and how this exposes their grasp (or lack thereof) of the Gospel.
- Part 2 – Why The Gospel? In part 2, we look at two reasons we as humanity need the Gospel. We seem to be all about the Gospel in today’s church, but why do we even need it in the first place?
- Part 3 – The Gospel and Youth Ministry | Part 3. This post takes a look at three key characteristics of the Gospel message.
In this post, we’ll finish up the other three key factors of the Gospel message…here we go!
THE GOSPEL IMPUTES RIGHTEOUSNESS.
As we said last post, the Gospel justifies and atones for sin. The other half of the interaction that leads to humanity’s transformation is that the righteousness of Christ being imputed to those who believe. The term imputed means given into one’s identity. It is not merely that the righteousness of Christ covers or influences those who believe, but through the union with Christ, it becomes an identity marker of those who believe. Believers are, as Paul tells the church in Corinth, “in” Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30). Salvation for believers comes through having our sins justified, but equally through unity with Christ. The gift of salvation is in and of itself the gift of Christ and unity with Him. The union created through salvation is the substance of salvation. As mentioned before, the Gospel message gives the promise that believers become a new creation. A believer unites with Christ and the sin receives atonement (when the sin rightly attributed to humankind is attributed to and paid for by Christ), and at the same time, the sinner receives the righteousness only rightly attributed to Jesus Christ (Phil 3:9).
THE GOSPEL IS NOT EARNED.
The message of the Gospel is not hope attributed to individuals on the basis of merit. It is, by definition, a gift of grace (Eph 2:8-9). Humankind has a propensity and inner desire to attempt to earn or deserve salvation; grace does not come naturally. However, Scripture is clear that the hope found in the Gospel comes through faith alone, not by human effort (Gal 2:15-16, Rom 8:3-4). Should the fruit of the Gospel be attainable by human effort, that would leave room for pride, arrogance, and boasting to grow. However, as it is void of human effort or initiation, it is also void of human glory (Rom 5:1-2, Gal 6:13-14).
THE GOSPEL RECONCILES CREATION.
Genesis 3 presents the fundamental problem of broken relationships as a direct result of humankind’s willing and open rebellion against God.
- Genesis 3:7 // Broken relationships with man and self.
- Genesis 3:8-10 // Broken relationships with man and God.
- Genesis 3:12 // Broken relationships with man and others.
- Genesis 3:17 // Broken relationships with man and nature.
Though nature is still functioning in open rebellion, the message of the Gospel is that God lays down the life of His son in order to reconcile, or make right, His relationship with humankind (Rom 5:10-11). Through His death, humankind’s justification, and His righteousness, believers are able to be presented before the divine God, His wrath abated, as holy and blameless (Col 1:21-22). Not only is humankind reconciled, reconciliation is found in relation to creation as well, as it longs to be restored through the hope of Christ (Rom 8:20-22).
In the next post in this series, we’ll tie all the factors together that define the Gospel and talk about the implications on our students and our ministries. In the final post, we’ll look at how the Gospel, Baptism, and our students interact.