Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Transformation [Not Information]

Do you think of the Gospel as being information or as a transformation?

You might be tempted to think that it's both, or that it really doesn't matter how you think of the Gospel, but I believe it matters a great deal.

For example, if we think of the Gospel as mainly information, then we become lawyers and modern Pharisees who argue semantics and debate doctrine. Salvation is seen as having the right information - the right beliefs and doctrines, in the right order. Those who have different information than we do are heretics. Those who accept our information are "saved" and those who don't are either not truly Christians or their salvation is in question.

But Jesus speaks of a Gospel that is based on an intimate relationship with himself. He talks about the Gospel as being primarily about transformation, not mere information.

He proclaims the Good News [Gospel] of the Kingdom by urging everyone to "think different" [Metanoia in the Greek; usually translated as "Repent!" in most English translations].

He points out that it's impossible for a bad tree to produce good fruit and that if you don't first "make the tree good" you'll never produce good fruit.

Through the Gospel, Jesus makes us good trees who can produce the good fruit of righteousness which is pleasing to God. [See Matt. 12:33]

Jesus says that life in the Kingdom comes when we "know God and the Christ whom He has sent" [John 17:3]

That word translated "know" is not about information. It's the same word used to say that "Adam 'knew' Eve" and that involves an intimacy; a way of knowing that conceives new life within.

So, we are called to "know God" and to "know Christ" in an intimate way that conceives a new life within us - the new life of the Kingdom that comes only as we abide in Him and He abides in us.

That's a relationship where we are daily learning to love Him more as we come to "know this love that surpasses knowledge" and become "filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." [Eph. 3:19]

If the Gospel is merely information, then we don't need a relationship with a living person who transforms us. Just give me the information and I'll study it and memorize it and enforce the proper communication of that information. 

But if the Gospel is about a transforming relationship with a vibrant, fantastic being of light and love, then we will certainly receive information about Him, but this will go far beyond mere data and exponentially transcend human knowledge to explode into an intimacy that conceives something new within. 

Jesus wants to change us. He wants us to become more like himself. We should desire that, too. The way we are transformed into His image is to immerse ourselves in Him and surrender ourselves completely to Him so that He can make us into the good trees that bear good fruit. 

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." [1 Jn. 3:2]


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Intellectual gospel' vs the gospel.