Theology 101

Is Your Gospel Big Enough?

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Does your faith in God touch every aspect of your life? Does it give deeper meaning to your vocation? Many of us operate daily with a gospel that only answers questions about our sin and salvation.

While that is true, it’s not the whole picture. In order to understand how our work, community, family life, and church all fit together within the Christian life, we must expand our understanding of the gospel from two chapters to four.

In a new Institute for Faith, Work & Economics Bible App (YouVersion) reading plan, Is Your Gospel Big Enough?, IFWE executive director Hugh Whelchel argues that the four-chapter gospel lays a foundation that provides meaning and fulfillment that everyone seeks in their life.

Below is a sample reading from the plan to give you a taste of what it has to offer. Get all seven days here.

Day Six: Two vs. Four Chapters

Is this gospel story really much different? Comparing the four chapters to the common two-chapter gospel reveals how misunderstanding the biblical story affects our perspective of life here on earth. The two chapters of Fall and Redemption emphasize only our sin and salvation. That is not the only issue. The two-chapter gospel has a number of problems:

  • It does not tell us about our true destiny. Our ultimate destiny is spending eternity with God. God sacrificing his son to die for our sins was not just for redemption on earth, but so that we would be reconciled to him forever.
  • It does not tell us why we were created. Why did God choose to save humanity? Because he loves us. God’s love for us is so grand that even in our sin he still invites us to partner with him and steward his creation. Apart from his saving grace, we would have no hope.
  • It does not tell us about what we were created to do. Without understanding the context of our creation and purpose for our lives on earth, we misinterpret our relationship with God.
  • It tends to over-emphasize the individualistic aspects of salvation. Salvation in Christ is realized and celebrated in community. The universal, invisible church, the body and bride of Christ, is an integral aspect of our relationship with God.
  • It becomes a gospel of sin management. If we consider the gospel to be all about salvation from sin, we ignore the power of Christ in our lives to transform others, the world, and us. The four-chapter gospel broadens our perspective of God’s sovereignty.
  • It creates a sacred/secular divide. Our response to God should be comprehensive and all-encompassing. There is no secular part of what we do.
  • It leads to an escapist view of redemption. Salvation is about more than just getting a ride to heaven. What we do on earth matters for the ultimate restoration of all creation.

A comprehensive four-chapter framework helps us understand why we are important to God, why our work is important to God, and why God has called us to be good stewards.

Christ came to earth to show us a glimpse of what life could and should look like when he makes all things new. As Christians, part of our job is to live lives so transformed by the gospel that we show the world the hope found in Christ.

Have you been living out a two-chapter gospel? How can the four-chapter gospel change your perspective?

Get the full plan here.

Is Your Gospel Big Enough? is the fifth reading plan released by IFWE on the Bible App and its content provides the theological basis for all IFWE other plans. The other four plans on the Bible App have resulted in over 330,000 subscriptions so far and the potential for readership growth remains high as more than 223 million people have the Bible App on their phone or tablet.

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