THE NATIONS AND RESURRECTION GOSPEL Blog # 18
The GOSPEL Is Becoming PUBLIC TRUTH
More than 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah was prophesying that the GOSPEL would become “PUBLIC TRUTH” for the international community. That is the way we should understand Isaiah 2:1-5 along with many other parallel passages in Isaiah and the whole Old Testament. How else can you possibly interpret Isaiah 2:4?: “He (God) will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.”
When we interpret Isaiah in this way we are simply taking our place among a large and growing number of respected Biblical scholars who see this text prophesying such remarkable success for the GOSPEL that it will have a powerful and positive influence in our sinful world.
How desperately the international community needs to hear God speaking right now! His GOSPEL given through the RISEN CHRIST is surely our only hope. We just saw 298 people murdered in the skies over Ukraine this past week. We see Jihadists wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. We see our own government stumbling and staggering through a complex web of seemingly insoluble problems of their own making. Many churches worldwide are advocating such moral horrors as “abortion on demand” and homosexual marriage. We are tempted to throw up our hands in hopeless horror.
I am simply agreeing here with Leslie Newbigin as I quoted him in my last blog. Seeing this same kind of seemingly desperate conditions in the last century, Newbigin called on believers to come out of their private little church world and advocate the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ as PUBLIC TRUTH. In other words, call for the whole world to recognize publicly that the gospel and the gospel alone has the power to bring peace and meaning into our lives.
This does not mean that Christians have to attack other religions and philosophies. It means that we have to believe our own gospel so fully that we actually live it, thus giving that gospel convincing integrity in the eyes of the “nations”. Then our words of counsel in the public domain will persuade the “nations” to consider the GOSPEL as PUBLIC TRUTH that must be considered in order to bring peace and meaning into every sphere of life.
Then, when the GOSPEL has transforming impact on our lives, our families, our work, our music, our education, our charitable ventures, our church-life, we will not need to attack other religions and philosophies. The KINGDOM OF GOD reflected in such transformed life-styles will demonstrate its reasonableness with such winsome power that “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord’.”
To some limited extent this has already happened. There was a time when European nations were so influenced by the gospel (such as the period following the Reformation) that many of those nations seriously considered the gospel as the kind of PUBLIC TRUTH that they should heed in considering political, social and military direction. To this very day, whenever, England inaugurates a new king, the Scottish head of state is always commissioned to put the Bible in the hands of the new king with an appeal for the King to follow the Word of God as divine instruction. The American colonies in the 17th, 18th centuries publicly acknowledged the gospel as PUBLIC TRUTH, not only in the Mayflower Compact but in a great number of civic and governmental documents. Even into the late 19th century, many American states authorized the preaching of public sermons before any major election.
But this is not a call for “the good old days.” “Thy Kingdom Come” is a prayer Jesus taught us to pray in expectation that nations now and in the future will be persuaded to listen to the wisdom that flows from the gospel. Leslie Newbigin, now in Heaven, must be singing a bit more enthusiastically in that choir because so many native Indians have forsaken the bondage of their old religion which regarded them as “untouchables.” Many of those poor souls are turning to Christ, seeing his gospel a PUBLIC TRUTH, and discovering the joy new life in a Risen Savior.
Yes, it is true that such spiritual victory will remain limited in this present age of the church. But scripture teaches us to expect the ultimate triumph of the Savior. Christians should be working in every area of life to see the gospel recognized as PUBLIC TRUTH. Though victory may be limited, it will also be real, substantial, significant, wonderfully effective in many ways. Let us rejoice in the victories, patiently awaiting final triumph.
(On vacation 2 weeks, probably not blogging, answering emails on my android: firstname.lastname@example.org)