“The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine.… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”
— Martin Luther, quoted by Timothy Keller in
“The Centrality of the Gospel”
You know, this is funny that I read this today. After our nightly reading and prayers a few days ago, I asked my daughter what the central point of the gospel was. She responded, “That Jesus rose from the dead.” I agreed that it was a key part of it, but then I refocused the question and asked, “But what is the GOOD NEWS?”, and she responded, now with some attitude at my insinuation that she was wrong (she IS 14, you know), “that Jesus ROSE from the DEAD“.
It seems that as Pastor Dads, sometimes it’s important to go over some of the roads that we’ve long since travelled and check for weeds of corruption and forgetfulness. Not merely asking the same questions, but leading questions that push our kids to expand their view of God and to help them see that it’s not about merely remembering the answers to questions, but to defining these things ourselves and exploring them biblically. While it’s accurate that our salvation is guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:12-19), that’s not the good news. The good news, the “truth of the Gospel”, is that Jesus has removed the yoke of the law from us, and that our sins are totally forgiven. Erased. Disposed of. Destroyed. We are not guilty of our sins anymore because they have been applied to the account of the One whom God sent, in His divine good pleasure, to take our place on the tree of suffering. He absorbed the blows of the flagellum and the fists of the officers and guards. He suffered the ridicule of those whom He sustained, whose lives He authored, and allowed them to spit upon him, falsely accuse him, and tear his beard from his face. He did all of this to see God’s justice fulfilled, so that those who turn to Him in repentance and faith may have the sins that keep them from Him removed – so He may embrace them in purity. That is the central point of the Gospel. That is the heart of the good news. When Jesus was resurrected, it showed that the payment was complete and that we may trust in Him to be the bearer of our sins to the glory of God.
So, Pastor Dads – maybe it’s time to walk down these roads you’ve left alone, confident in their quality because you took so long to lay them. Be prepared to pull the weeds that have crept onto the roadway, but be confident and consistent and your work will be rewarded. If Martin Luther had to beat it into their heads continually, are we any greater than he?