Read Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after John was arrested,Jesus came into Galilee,proclaiming the gospel of God,15 and saying,”The time is fulfilled,and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (ESV)
It is almost a cliché amongst Christians that we are to share the gospel,that we are to uphold the priority of the gospel,that we are to beware of false gospels. All of which assumes we do actually grasp what the true gospel is.
We can narrow the gospel down in such a way that it is confined to the fact that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose again. And of course this is crucial; take that away and there is indeed no gospel. But the gospel of the life,death and resurrection of Jesus has implications. Jesus links the gospel with the coming of his kingdom or rule. In other words,the gospel is about living a new life in a new order of things.
We rightly question a so-called ‘social gospel’ that sees God’s good news as purely alleviating the ills of this world. Jesus’ gospel is more than this and yet embraces this. Any attempts to disassociate belief in the doctrines of Jesus and living a new sort of life are doomed to failure.
The gospel involves a certain set of beliefs which lead to a certain type of behaviour. It is unavoidably ‘social’. But its social implications are rooted in the fact that Jesus is the risen Lord of this world who has ushered in a new age. We not only believe that Jesus rose again. We also believe that in rising again he inaugurated his rule and invites us to live it out.