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.”
Welcome to the Second Half of the Gospel.
Let’s begin with a one question pop quiz.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the following:
A. I was born into the intractable, unsolvable condition of sin; destined for destruction and eternal death. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came into the world to defeat sin and destroy death, offering his life, death, resurrection and ascension for my eternal salvation. If I will receive this gift I will live eternally with God.
B. I was created in the image of Jesus Christ to to be filled with all the fullness of the Holy Spirit in order to become a powerfully transforming new creation of the love of Jesus for the sake of others to glory of God the Father.
C. All of the above.
D. None of the above.
So how do you answer?
Today begins a thirty day series on the Daily Text we will call The Second Half Challenge. It is part of a larger writing project I am in the midst of around what we at Seedbed refer to as “The Second Half of the Gospel.” I have come to believe it is the most pressing matter of our time. Here is the working thesis:
The world will awaken to the first half of the gospel when the people of God (aka “Church”) wake up to the second half of the gospel.
In the first half of the gospel we discover how God is with us and for us. In the second half of the gospel we discover how God works in us and through us.
The bad news? Most Christians have little understanding of the second half. The good news? Over these next thirty days we will not only grow in our understanding of the second half of the gospel, we will begin to live into its possibilities. Indeed, the second half of the gospel opens up a horizon of life we always hoped was possible.
For now, begin to open your heart and claim this vast, largely unexplored territory of the second half of the Gospel. It will be the most challenging and most rewarding journey of your life so far.
And you will have to come back tomorrow for the answer to today’s pop quiz!
Father, thank you for the gospel of your son, Jesus Christ. The more I know him, the more I want to know him more. Jesus, I want all you have for my life. I offer you my undivided attention for these next thirty days. I open myself to receive the Holy Spirit in ever increasing measure, for my good, for others’ gain and for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.
Did you know there was a second half of the gospel? What are your thoughts as we enter in? What are your fears? What are your prayers?
Yes, I am aware of the second half of the Gospel. I would refer to it as spiritual formation or sanctification. I am looking forward to living into the journey ahead. My fear is that many of us might not be willing to make the sacrifice needed after considering the cost. My prayer for myself is to “finish the race well” and help others along the way.