The Doorway into the Second Half of the Gospel

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LISTEN NOW

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

CONSIDER THIS

The answer to yesterday’s pop quiz was C. Both.

The gospel has a first half and a second half. The vast majority of Christians alive today have only gone the first half. Why? Because for the past few hundred years or so the overwhelming presentation of the gospel has been primarily oriented around the first half only. It has been presented as a set of propositional terms and largely geared around a motivation to avoid eternal damnation and secure eternal blessing.

You are a sinner. Without a savior you are destined for death and hell. You need a savior. Good news. Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead. If you accept Jesus as your savior you will go to heaven when you die. So, do you ACCEPT? Of course you do.

Here’s the sad part. Many, if not most, people who “accepted” Jesus on these truncated terms never took it much further. Maybe they joined a church. Maybe they got involved in some religious activities. They probably attempted some form of sin management and ultimately gave up. They are going to heaven someday, but in the meantime, they are mostly doing other things.

So is this wrong? Well, it’s not wrong. It’s just a super inadequate presentation of the most significant truth in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a transactional reality—a ticket to heaven. It is a comprehensively transformational relationship. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply this: Jesus Christ is the simple and comprehensive solution to all that is broken in our lives and in the world. Here’s how Scripture puts it:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The language of “New Creation” refers to a future reality; but get this—the revolutionary revelation of this text—indeed the whole New Testament is the future reality has now broken in on the present state of affairs.

The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. That little word, “behold,” (which ironically been translated out of most bibles) means, WAKE UP!

I mean, most Christians have read right over that text a hundred times. It’s probably on a magnet on your refrigerator. But, dare I say it, most of us have accepted it as a propositional truth rather than a living reality. At that point, we are still asleep. So for effect, I’m going ALL CAPS, which means I’m shouting. Please shout this aloud with me as you read it. I’m being serious.

THE OLD HAS PASSED AWAY. BEHOLD! THE NEW HAS COME.

THE OLD HAS PASSED AWAY. BEHOLD! THE NEW HAS COME.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down? This is the doorway into the second half of the gospel. I hear a knocking sound. It’s coming from the inside. That’s strange. For many years I only knew the porch. I knew there was a house I could go in someday; you know, a mansion in glory. I never realized the entire house is open right here and right now.

And that is the story for too many Christians: standing on the porch, ticket to heaven in hand, but never knowing the heaven-filled house of God is open now.

Didn’t someone we know say something like that?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 And there’s that word again! Knock Knock!

THE PRAYER

Father, thank you for the gospel of your son, Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I want to comprehend this word in a way I never have before. Because I am in you, I am a New Creation. The old has gone. Behold. The new has come. Forgive me for missing it; or at least not fully getting it yet. Come Holy Spirit and write this word on my heart. I’ve opened the door of my heart to you. I am ready now to walk through the door of your heart into your house, right here and right now—on Earth as it is in Heaven. Yes Lord Jesus, Amen.

THE QUESTION

I want you to dig into this word today (and tomorrow and the next day). “I am in Christ. I am a New Creation. The old has gone. Behold! The new has come.” Write it in your Second Half Challenge Journal (you started one of those, didn’t you? ;0) Say it aloud. Repeat it throughout the day. Write it on a post-it note and put it where you will see it regularly.

P.S. I’d also love for you to grab a copy of Dan Wilt’s first Daily Text book Receive the Holy Spirit. What a Spirit-filled labor he gave us. Let’s encourage him with our love (and orders).

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this new daily devotional study on the second half of the Gospel. “ The heaven-filled house of God is open now”, sounds to me like an invitation to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Hopefully this series of lessons will encourage us all to take the call to embrace, display and proclaim this kingdom of God more earnestly.

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