The book provides an accurate, concise, clear presentation of the Gospel in very a Pauline, protestant, evangelical, and Reformed fashion. He explains the Gospel in very “Romans’ road”-like terms and uses penal substitution as his foundational motif in explaining the Gospel (hence very Pauline, protestant, evangelical, and Reformed). Gilbert uses the well-known, often used, and quite excellent, “God, man, Christ, response” outline to explain the Gospel. This outline demonstrates a fantastic and simply model to help one get a solid grasp of what the Gospel is really all about. It also prompts one to ask important questions about what the Gospel message assumes (sometimes called the “bad news”), means, and implies.
The following belongs to a series entitled “An Introductory Biblical Theology of Resurrection.” Read other posts belonging to this series here.
The Pauline Epistles
Of all Biblical authors, the resurrection is most prolific in Paul’s writings. Of first importance, Paul confesses the bodily resurrection and appearance of Christ (1 Cor 15:3-8; Gal 1:1; 1 Thes 1:10; 2 Tim 2:8). Christ is raised for the imputation of His righteousness to all who are united to Him by faith (Rom 4:25), and lives to make intercession for all those for whom He died (Rom 8:34). But even more so, the central motif in Paul’s resurrection-framework is union with Christ.
In contemporary Christianity it is very common to hear that someone “got saved” or to have someone tell you that they were “saved” at such and such a time. But beyond that, the concept of “salvation” remains dormant. I believe this stems from a misunderstanding of salvation, that is, salvation in its entirety.
Now, it is true that many believers can point back to a specific moment of turning from sin towards initial trust in Christ for salvation. In theology we call this moment conversion and it is also the moment we are regenerated (given spiritual birth and life) and justified (counted as righteous before God). In this sense, then, we can rightly say that we were saved upon our conversion. But the idea of “salvation” is Biblically and theologically much more comprehensive than just that one precise moment.
Ephesians 2:8 states that one is saved by grace through faith. Now, this is a relatively well known verse. And the concept of salvation by means of faith in Christ and His saving work alone is also relatively well known, at least among evangelicalism.
Maybe your familiar with this truth. I hope you are. But have you ever thought to yourself, “why faith? Why is it that faith saves as opposed to something else like good deeds, joy, sorrow, gladness, or a sense of surreal peace?” Obviously it was God who determined faith to be the means of man’s salvation; it’s not as if this was some external law or obligation that was imposed on Him. So, why faith? Why is God’s plan of saving people by His grace through faith. Why does He count those with faith as righteous (Rom 4:3; cf. Gen 15:6)?
This is the first of four messages I delivered at Winterfest at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp in December of 2011. In this message I used Christmas as a springboard to examine the Gospel. We asked what Christmas is all about, why Jesus came, and finally, why Jesus died. We found our answers to these questions and more in the great “suffering servant” passage of Isaiah chapter 53.