The Divine Conspiracy: Chapter 2 Gospels of Sin Management (pp.44-49)
The Gospel on the Right
The Gospel on the Right has largely become solely a gospel that is believed to be a transaction regarding Jesus's payment for our sin so that we might live in heaven after we die but a gospel that has little to do with our everyday life on earth.
"Certainly forgiveness and reconciliation are essential to any relationship where there has been offense, and also between us and God. We cannot pass into a new life from above without forgiveness. Certainly it is Christ who made possible such a transition, through his life and his death. We must be reconciled to God and he to us if we are going to have a life together. But such a reconciliation involves far more than the forgiveness of our sins or a clearing of the ledger. And the faith and salvation of which Jesus speaks obviously is a much more positive reality than mere reconciliation."
"The issue, so far as the gospel in the Gospels is concerned, is whether we are alive to God or dead to him. Do we walk in an interactive relationship with him that constitutes a new kind of life, life 'from above'?
"What must be emphasized in all of this is the difference between trusting Christ, the real person Jesus, with all that that naturally involves, versus trusting some arrangement for sin-remission set up through him- trusting only his role as guilt remover. To trust the real person Jesus is to have confidence in him in every dimension of our real life, to believe that he is right about and adequate to everything."
Many Christians today believe that the gospel is "an arrangement for forgiveness of sin that leaves Christ, the now living person, simply irrelevant to our present existence."
"They have been led to believe that God, for some unfathomable reason, just thinks it appropriate to transfer credit from Christ's merit account to ours, and to wipe out our sin debt, upon inspecting our mind and finding that we believe a particular theory of the atonement to be true- even if we trust everything but God in all other matters that concern us."
"When all is said and done, 'the gospel' for those on the theological right is that Christ made 'the arrangement' that can get us into heaven. In the Gospels, by contrast, 'the gospel' is the good news of the presence and availability of life in the kingdom, now and forever, through reliance on Jesus the Anointed."
"Accordingly, the only description of eternal life found in the words we have from Jesus is 'This is eternal life, that they (his disciples) may know you, the only real God, and Jesus the anointed, whom you have sent.' (John 17:3). This may sound to us like 'mere head knowledge', but the biblical 'know' always refers to an intimate, personal, interactive relationship."