Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:21-23, NIV)
Confounding, yet unbelievably simple. That’s how I would describe the gospel message. On the one hand, it is very easy to explain, as Paul does here. On the other hand…boy is it sometimes hard “to get.” Perhaps the best way to describe it is in the ubiquitous name it’s given: “Gospel”. It simply means “good news” – great message. The Apostle also calls it “Kerygma” or “proclamation” – the one and only message of the church.
Here are the simple components as outlined by Paul:
- Our sin “alienated” us from God;
- Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection saved us from this sin and reconciled us (this was effective because of the divine nature of Jesus see verses 15-20); and
- This truth should affect the way we live our lives as we continue in the faith and hold on to the hope found in this good news.
It is that simple. As I mention, outlining the gospel is the easy part. The tough question is “why”? Why would God go to those lengths to save us? Obviously, everyone who’s ever been to Sunday School or seen a guy with a John 3:16 sign at a football game knows the answer: God loves us. But, wow…that is hard to grasp…especially given the fact that we were evil-doing enemies.
But THAT is grace…and when I finally come to understand it myself, I will let you know.
Until then, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father…” (1:2)