In PART I of this series, I said, “It has become fashionable to sever the (λόγος Logos) into parts and discard the objectionable.” I’d like to continue on that theme, but focus primarily on the relation of the words “gospel” and “logos.” In the book “Scripture As Logos; Rabbi Ishmael and the Origins of Midrash” The author states: “The logos is simultaneously the instructor and the content of its instruction.” I’ll take that one step further and say that the gospel is both The Logos (Jesus) and The Logois (Jesus’ words) (Luke 23:9) (Luke 4:22) etc. The purpose of this post is to call into question the notion that “The gospel is not a person, it’s the message of a person.”
I’d like to make the following proposition:
The “truth” is a person (John 14:6). The “Word” (logos) is a person (John 1:1) “Truth,” “Word,” (logos) and “Gospel” are sometimes synonymous. Therefore “The Gospel” can and does refer to a person, the person of Jesus Christ.
You may want to disassemble that proposition or identify it as logically invalid, but first, consider the following:
Paul uses the gospel and Jesus synonymously – Paul says “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (1 Corinthians 9:23) It’s interesting here that “Partaker” – συνκοινωνὸς ~ synkoinōnos “one who syncs up in fellowship” (co-fellowshipper) and the personal pronoun “auto” – αὐτοu – (with it), is not just referring to a thing, but a relationship with a person.
In Philippians 3:7,8, Paul says “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
These two passage taken together show that Paul “does all things for the sake of the gospel,” in the Corinthians passage and Paul “does all things for the sake of Christ” in the Philippians passage. Therefore since “all things” can not be done for two different things, they must be the same thing. Jesus is both the gospel and relays the gospel. The gospel is simultaneously person and message.
Paul personifies the Gospel – In Ephesians 1:13 it says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Jesus said he was the truth personified and that he was the word (logos) personified. In this passage “the gospel” is also personified and equated with Jesus. In equation form, it might look like this Word = Truth = Gospel = Jesus
The Galatians turned “from Christ” to a “different gospel.” – “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.” (Galatians 1:6) In verses 6-16 of the same chapter, there’s a unique interplay of gospel as message and gospel as person culminating with, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…” (Galatians 1:16) Of the words “preach Him,” John Gill had this to say, “Christ was the subject of his ministry; the things respecting his person, as that he was very God, the Son of God, God and man in one person the things respecting his office.”
The gospel does not come simply with words. – “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4) This verse comes from the context of the “hope of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3) The Spirit of the Lord is directly and insuperably connected with the Gospel.
The writer of Hebrews, Peter, and Paul use the same “partaking language” regarding Jesus and the gospel. – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14) But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13) These two passage combined with the above (1 Corinthians 9:23) demonstrate a “sharing” in the relayed message and its relayer.
The concept of “Christ Crucified” – “Christ crucified,” (1 Corinthians 1:23) is the Gospel. It’s the who and the what, the medium (person) and message, the Word and His words… it is the statement that begs the question “Who is Christ, and what did He do?” To separate the gospel message from the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5) is to empty the cross of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17) Jesus was God’s message in the flesh.
“One can not separate the relational Jesus from His reasonable gospel
as if they were two completely different things.”
John the Baptizer and Jesus said that King, Kingdom & Message are gospel. – The gospel of the Kingdom loses it’s meaning without the person of the King. Jesus was both message of Kingdom at hand, and King. (John 5:46)
In part III, I hope to further develop this line of thought and explain why it all matters. For now, a few questions:
Is it true then that “The gospel is not the person of Jesus, but simply a message about him?
Why is it potentially harmful to separate the gospel from the person of Jesus?
Why may it be potentially harmful to join them?