“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Ps 16:11

The Truncated Gospel

Cut an isosceles triangle out of a piece of paper with two long equal sides. Toward the bottom of the triangle print “Prophet.” In the middle of the triangle print “Priest.” Close to the top of the triangle print “King of the Nations.” Good. Take your scissors and cut off the top of the triangle, just above “Prophet.” Now you have a truncated triangle.

Relate this to the Gospel. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, What is faith in Jesus Christ? Answer: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel. I’m interested in the final clause put in italics. According to the catechism, the nature of our faith is related to how the gospel is presented to us. If the gospel is truncated, our faith is truncated.

Think about it. We agree that Christ is our Prophet; He speaks to us in Scripture. We may tip out hats to the idea that Christ is King. That Christ is King of the Nations is rarely on our radar screens. We also see the heart of the gospel as Christ’s priesthood; His sacrifice of Himself on behalf of His people.

However, what is the basic Christian confession? We go back to Romans 10:9. “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” As the context in Romans 10 shows, when Paul writes these words, he reaches back to Isaiah 52:7. “How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

Isaiah looks ahead to the Babylonian captivity. The message that captive Israel needed to hear was simple, “Your God reigns.” Nebuchadnezzar does not reign; God reigns. “He removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21). He is King of the Nations. Kings and nations need to heed this message (Psa. 2).

Scripture is clear, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns.’” (1 Chr. 16:31, Psa. 93:1, 96:10, 97:1, 99:1). “The LORD is King” (Psa. 10:16, 29:10). If the Lord is King of the nations and Jesus Christ is Lord, then Jesus Christ is indeed King of the Nations. As Paul confesses, “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). This is the basic Christian confession.

The basic Christian confession is not, “Christ is Prophet.” Yes, the Spirit of Christ spoke through all the prophets (1 Pet. 1:10-11). We acknowledge him as Prophet. The basic Christian confession is not, “Christ is Priest.” We acknowledge and embrace the priesthood of Christ (Heb. 9:11-12). However, the fundamental Christian confession is, “Jesus Christ is Lord; He is King.” He is King of both men and Nations. We accept His prophetic word because He is the living reigning King. We embrace His sacrifice as priest because He is the living reigning King.

Think about our truncated triangle with King of the Nations cut off the top. Is our gospel truncated in a similar way? We need to renew our commitment to the biblical gospel. Our God reigns! Christ is not a King among kings. He is King of kings. Let’s not truncate the gospel. Christ is King of the Nations!

2016-10-29T15:11:22-05:00 December 9th, 2013|