If the problem is Sin — and Sin is failure to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength — what is the solution?
The last four chapters of Tim Kellers??? The Reason for Goddeal with Christian doctrines ??? the solution – in the general sense of the term, from a protestant perspective. In Chapter 12 the issue is Religion versus Gospel but first he must define his terms.
According to Keller, Religion is salvation through moral effort while the Gospel is salvation through the grace of God. Don???t clobber me over his terms ??? we could just as well say that there are two conceivable solutions ??? (A) We do it or (B) God did it.
In (A) Jesus came as teacher with a message ??? do this and you will be saved. This is also the message of most (every) other major religion ??? Do this and you will find the divine. Do this and you will enter the kingdom of God.
In (B) Jesus came essentially as savior (although he was also teacher). Jesus says: ???I am the divine come to you, to do what you could not do for yourselves.??? (p. 185)
The Gospel (B) is that God through Jesus did for us what we could not and cannot do for ourselves so that we can rest in that assurance of reunion with God and participate in bringing about the Kingdom of God – the community of the people of God. Here and now – continuing forever. (Ok ??? not Keller???s exact expression, rather mine ??? but Keller has the same sense, more or less).
The Gospel is scary ??? if we are saved by our good works there are limits to what God can expect of us; if we are saved by grace there is nothing he cannot ask of us. Following Jesus — accepting the Gospel — is total surrender.
Keller illustrates his points in this chapter by reference to fiction ??? Robert Louis Stevenson???s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ; Flannery O???Connor???s Wise Blood; and Victor Hugo???s Les Miserables.
In Keller???s view Religion (A) ??? even Christian Religion ??? is no better than irreligion as it does not, cannot, address the problem.
So — Does this tally with your understanding of the Gospel? How would you describe the Gospel?