- John Van Sloten
The Ever Changing Scope of the Gospel
Reading about the Jerusalem Council debate in Acts 15 (where some Jewish Christians wanted to apply an old Hebrew law to the lives of new Gentile Christians in other cities - ie. circumcision), I was struck by God's wisdom in getting the Christian gospel out of town as soon as possible.
Where Jerusalem was already falling back into legalism, the gospel remained fresh and free in its new Gentile context. In this newness it had room to expand; at least for a little while.
This makes me think that the gospel should always operate in this way.
Growth and movement protect us from over-controlling and backsliding. Which then makes me think that the whole idea of engaging the gospel via creation is really a perfect way to protect us from our prone-to-lock-in-our-understanding-of-God-and-deaden-the-gospel selves.
Given creation's infinite breadth and depth, the saving power of ever-newness can save us from our God-controlling tendencies for an eternity.
In his book Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, theologian Sidney Greidanus wrote about how God's revelation to his people was always progressing:
"The fact of progression in salvation history demands an ever new hearing of the word of the Lord spoken at an earlier moment in salvation history. The hearing must be new because it is a hearing in the context of the later events and circumstances in salvation history, and in the light of the word of the Lord spoken later in salvation history."
(Kindle Locations 725-727). Kindle Edition.
So now I'm thinking that if, even as Christ was veiled in the Old Testament, and unveiled in the New... that he will continue to be progressively unveiled for the rest of eternity.
Surely it will take an eternity to fully unveil who God is in Jesus Christ.
Which then means that there will be an, "Ever new hearing of the word of the Lord spoken at an earlier moment of salvation history".
So, getting back to the idea of engaging Christ and his gospel via creation texts, this makes me think that everything from the infinitesimal to the infinite - in astronomy, mathematics, geology, art, history, science, language, work and nature - is precisely where the richness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will progressively unfold forever.
image - NASA, Earthrise