Essay / Theology

How Big the Gospel Is

Look at the nifty quotes that are being passed around Twitter lately, from my book The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything: A set of statements from the bottom of page 106, which sound better to me when somebody else tweets them at me than they did when I wrote them:

A gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small.

A gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small.

A gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all the others is too small.

A gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small.

A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but does not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.

These lines are everywhere I look this week. That’s great, because one of the main things I try to do in the book is to use the doctrine of the Trinity to expand our ideas about the salvation that God has provided for us. The gospel is not just something God did for us, but is God’s own self-giving to be our salvation. It takes me a few chapters to say all that, though, so I’m thrilled to see that people have picked up on that line of argument from page 106 and are passing it around.

These lines are even tweeting around in Spanish, which sounds much cooler because I don’t really know Spanish:

un evangelio que te deja con tus pecados perdonados pero no te ofrece ni un poder de transformación es muy pequeño

un evangelio en el cual eres medido por tu propia conducta moral, conciencia social o experiencia religiosa es muy pequeño

un evangelio que reajusta los componentes de tu vida pero no te lleva personalmente a la presencia de Dios es muy pequeño

And, to top that, the same set of sentences is showing up in Portuguese:

Um evangelho que perdoa seus pecados, mas não lhe dá poder para transformação é muito pequeno.

Here are a few other quotes from Deep Things, which I’ve seen on blogs and various social media:

Christ the Son accomplishes redemption in his own work. The Holy Spirit applies that finished redemption to us in his own work.

If you trust Jesus to be your salvation, you already know the Trinity. But it’s a great benefit to know that you know the Trinity. It’s a great benefit to know that you’re a Christian because you’ve received a Spirit of adoption from the Father, a Spirit that lets you call God “Abba, Father.

The Trinity is lurking in the gospel, just as it is lurk­ing in the life of every believer. This Trinitar­ian reality is going on in our Christian lives whether we know it or not.

Christian prayer is a family thing, and it is only open to sons of God

Christians are people who talk to God like they are Jesus Christ, calling God “Father”

There is always already a conversation going on among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we pray, we are joining that conversation.

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