This is the second post in this series. So what is it that makes me believe that the gospel that is most presented today by the evangelical church is a different gospel.... a distorted gospel? Well the answer is quite simple. They have tried to weave the gospel into an interpretative lens that sees the scripture as a legal-constitutional document. In the first post, I listed several questions that need to be answered if one is to read between-the-lines and discover what the original author was trying to communicate to the original audience.
I would like to focus on question two: What did the intended readers believe at the time of the writing and was it meant to reinforce what they believed, or was it a correction? In answering this question it is obvious to me that Jesus, and subsequently his first century followers, were trying to correct the view of scripture that held it as a legal-constitutional document, and substitute a solely redemptive view. The reason is that if one maintains the legal-constitutional reading of scripture, the preeminence of the redemptive decrees gets lost amid other corrective messages. It seems obvious that to the first century writers of the New Testament the redemptive decrees had preeminence.
Let me list some redemptive decrees found in the pages of the New Testament to be sure that it is clear what I am talking about:
- John 3:16-18 NASB "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (18) "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- Romans 10:9-10 NASB that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (10) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
- Hebrews 9:14 NASB how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?