96 The Gospel is Everlasting
We usually think of the gospel as something that God initiates in response to the entrance of sin. Join us as we pursue the idea that the Gospel, the Good News has always been from before creation and will continue into the world to come. It describes Gods unwavering commitment to love no matter what happens because that is who he is - love.
Epochs in the Eternal or Everlasting Gospel
The Gospel or Good News is eternal or everlasting (Revelation 14:6). This means the gospel has always existed. It is the good news about God and how he has adapted himself to meet the needs of every epoch. We do not have much information about this relationship in some of these epochs but we can garner hints here and there in the Bible of how the gospel was formulated.
EPOCH 1. THE GOSPEL BETWEEN THE TRINITY: “I love you. You are insightful and creative. I can’t imagine existing without you.”
We have few recorded interactions between the members of the Trinity. We know that Jesus spent hours in prayer, but we know little about this interaction apart from Jesus’ words. We also have the fruit of the Spirit which indicate the relationship between the Trinity.
Creation was a Team Activity
Genesis 1:26-31 NLT Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. What does this mean? Does each member of the Trinity have both “genders” or do they complement each other as male and female do? 28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” 29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. 31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! (Other days were “good” but not “very good.”) And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.
The Father openly expressed his affection for Jesus Christ a few times
Matthew 3:17 NLT And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) Matthew 17:5-6 New Living Translation But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
When Jesus spoke to the Father, the Father responded
John 12:26-30 NLT “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.” In the LORD’s prayer Jesus spends the first half of the prayer praying FOR God (Matthew 6:12). Jesus claims he and the Father are congruent in every way. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus and Holy Spirit have the same ministry. He will send another comforter (John 15:26). Jesus experienced abandonment by the Father for the first time in all eternity on the cross. “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The Father did not abandon Jesus but he felt this way. Jesus trusted God more than he trusted himself when he felt like his eternal life was about to end on the cross. “Into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). The resurrection is an example of how closely the members of the Trinity minister together. The Father raised Jesus (Galatians 1:1), Jesus raised Jesus (John 2:19; 10:17-18), the Spirit raised Jesus (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 1:4).
EPOCH 2. THE GOSPEL FOR ANGELS: “I love you. I made you to love you and to serve you. I can’t imagine being without you now.”
Job 38:6-7 NLT What supports its (earths) foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Angels are messengers of the gospel to sinners: Gabriel tells Mary of baby Jesus (Luke 1:26-38); Angels appear to the shepherds with good news (Luke 2:13-14). An angel cares to each of the 7 churches (Revelation 2 & 3); In Daniel 7, millions of angels are present to defend God. Each one of us has a guardian angel (Psalm 34:7; Matthew 18:10). An angel announced to the women that Jesus was risen (Luke 24:1-7). When angels give the gospel to sinners they confirm for themselves.
EPOCH 3. FOR ADAM AND EVE BEFORE SIN: “I love you. You are insightful and creative. I can’t imagine existing without you now. I made you to love you and to serve you. I made the world for you to enjoy and bring joy to animals and your children.”
The dominion over animals was to bring joy and happiness to the animals. Horse whisperers, elephant mahouts, dog trainers, shepherds all witness to this assertion. God wanted to be their friend, he visited every day. The ability to procreate and the pleasure of sex indicated the pleasure the trinity have in each other (John 10:10). Compare a couple preparing a nursery for a baby.
EPOCH 4. THE GOSPEL FOR SINNERS: “I love you. I can’t imagine existing without you now. I made you to love you and to serve you. I made the world for you to enjoy. I have compassion for your suffering because of sin. I have no condemnation for you. I am going to heal you unless you prevent me. You will be with me in indescribable happiness forever if you do not refuse me.”
In the Old Testament:
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Hosea 6:6 NLT I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices.I want you to know me, more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 11:8-9 NLT “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. 9 No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.
Song of Songs 2:10 NLT My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Song of Songs 4:9-10 NLT You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. 10 Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.
In the New Testament:
Luke 15:20-24 NLT “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So, the party began.
John 3:16-17 NLT “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge (or condemn) the world, but to save the world through him.
John 13:34 NLT So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Jesus loved his enemies which Moses did not envision. Jesus gave his life rather than prove he was innocent of the accusations against him. When one grasps the love Jesus had for sinners there is no comparison with the love postulated by the Ten Commandments. Having the law was better than having anarchy but the love of God transcends anything written about love. God’s love defies description because we can never plumb its depths. It will always be far beyond the best laws written on stone, or parchment or hard drives. God, in Jesus, had to come and live among us to give us a glimpse of their love.
Romans 5:8 NLT But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:18 NLT Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
1 Timothy 2:4 NLT who (God) wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
1 John 4:10, 19 NLT This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
19 We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 3:2 NLT Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
Love divine, all loves excelling! Charles Wesley 1647
1 Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art.
Visit us with thy salvation; enter ev'ry trembling heart.
2 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast. Let us all in thee inherit, let us find the promised rest. Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be. End of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3 Come, Almighty, to deliver, let us all thy life receive. Suddenly return, and never,
nevermore they temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above, pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4 Finish, then, thy new creation;
true and spotless let us be. Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee.
Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.
Gethsemane and Calvary demonstrated God’s amazing attitude. Jesus loves me. Jesus has great affection for me. He knows me by name. I am precious to him. He has forgiven all my faults and failures. He has written my name in his book of life. He has my picture on his fridge. God, in Jesus Christ, will not, cannot stop loving me, cannot imagine not loving me. It implies that I can sleep while he is dying of depression, I can betray him, deny him, abandon him, torture him, reject him, abuse him, mock him, execute him but none of these wicked actions diminish his love for me in the slightest!
When he rose, there was no thought of revenge in him. His first words to his guilt laden disciples were, “Peace be unto you!”
Ian Hartley, February 2022.