The gospel is much bigger than most all of us were taught or realize, much bigger from the pages of holy Scripture. Take a look at this excellent post from Bob Robinson on the gospel.
Yesterday in devotions we were in Psalm 103 (still), and in trying to bring out how big this salvation is, not only from that passage, but from the whole of Scripture and the story therein, I broached a topic (what a sidetrail!) from an article I recently read (if you lack time then read only the post from Bob Robinson noted above, and this article; neither are that long, and well worth the time), which conjectures what may have been if humanity would never have sinned. Would we have lost something precious, that be grace comes in the Incarnation and union of God with humanity in Jesus. The article taking the line that indeed, the Incarnation was still necessary even apart from sin, necessary within creation and in realizing the goal God has for humankind.
Such conjecture and theological discussion is in itself rather pointless as we should be thinking on what Scripture says, not what it doesn't say. But it does bring up a most worthy point from Scripture. What is involved in this salvation in Jesus, that goes beyond- without minimizing the importance- the forgiveness of sins? For one thing, humankind is realizing in Jesus the goal there from the beginning, that in God's terms, humankind, made in God's image, would become increasingly conformed and also confirmed in that image. A loss, and increasing loss of God's image due to sin, and letting humans have their way in sin with sin's consequences might be what the heart of hell is all about.
And this is only taking a glance at what salvation is for us individually. Salvation in Christ is much bigger than that, not to minimize the importance of the former. It is cosmic in scope, since all creation is involved, including all things visible and invisible, whatever dimensions exist. And this comes down to earth for us in us looking at how we can bring this salvation to bear on systemic evil around us. A great example of this kind of work is found in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that occurred in South Africa. A work that never would have taken place apart from Jesus coming, his teaching and the gospel.
The gospel has import for all we do in life. We need to think of the gospel in relation to all we do, and pray to God for creative ways of it making inroads into our work and culture, and out from that to the world. Big words, and really beyond me. And I have it easier that way, working for a fine Christian nonprofit organization and ministry.
I'm working on this. Going through again Scot McKnight's recent book, Community Called Atonement, and I'd also highly recommend his earlier book on this as well, Embracing Grace.
I'm not sure everyone in our "devotions" yesterday appreciated the discussion, but I thought it was good for us, to stretch us a bit, in things that are hard to understand. To help us begin to just get a glimpse into the truth of just how big the gospel in Jesus, really is.
What thought might you have on this?