Just What IS the Gospel?
Just what is the Gospel? It is possible to confuse Gospel-related concepts with the Gospel itself. I found this parable from Matthew Bates’s Gospel Allegiance helpful:
It is not that the true gospel is entirely missing or that people are not entering salvation. Far from it. The gospel is still being preached with saving effect. Rather, the current situation is like standing in a cluttered garage with a lone, dusty window. A rosebush can be seen growing outside—an appreciable amount of goodness and beauty—but the view of the roses is obscured.
Once you recognize the need, you begin to sweep, dust, and remove boxes. And when you look out again, you see vibrant lilies, orchids, tulips, and poppies as well as more roses than you ever could have imagined—in a hundred vibrant colors. You hadn’t realized that the rosebush was part of a flower garden. This book attempts to move boxes and clean the windowpanes so we can see the whole garden in all its radiant beauty—the saving gospel of Jesus the king. . . .
The climax of the biblical gospel is not the cross but something frequently not considered part of the gospel at all: the enthronement of Jesus. And when we see this, we might begin to see why saving faith in the Bible intends not just belief or interior trust in God’s promises but bodily allegiance to a king. Seeing this compels us to rethink how faith, grace, and works fit together (Bates, 17-18).