Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Gospel 28

The apostle Paul gets pushed around a bit by many who aren’t willing to read him carefully. Paul stood in the line of thinkers in the Bible who might be called “liberation gospelers.” We have to think of Moses and the Exodus and we have to think of Isaiah and the return from Exile. We have to think of Jesus and liberating people from all kinds of problems — and Paul is in that line. He believed deeply in freedom. So deeply he defined the gospel by the word “freedom.” We are doing a series on the meaning of the word “gospel” and we are now into Paul’s letter to the Galatians, his Magna Carta of freedom.

In Galatians 2 Paul uses the word “gospel” a few more times.


Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with
Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation
and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I
did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I
was running or had run my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was
with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a

Here we see that Paul’s gospel is not
something that involves circumcision; here we also learn that
circumcision is the (or one of the) issues for the opponents. Paul thought imposing circumcision on the gospel was to enslave the gospel.


This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks
to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5
We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the
gospel might remain with you.

Paul’s gospel
creates freedom — from sin, from obligation to certain laws (like
circumcision). This freedom from such restraints Paul calls the “truth
of the gospel.”

And we see in 2:6-10 that Paul’s task is to
preach this gospel to the Gentiles. Gentile inclusion is central to
Paul’s understanding of the gospel. For Paul, the freedom-shaped gospel was expanding.

Comments read comments(4)
post a comment
David Ulmer

posted November 6, 2008 at 2:34 am

Scott, just a couple of thoughts.
The Gospel is a person. Jesus is the Logos. He is the definitive expression of God, which is Good. He is the fullness of the gospel. All angles, or facets of this truth are expressed in ways like “the gospel of the Kingdom”. Jesus is the Kingdom, or as Jerome said the “Autobasileia”. The gospel of life is Jesus, He is the definitive form of Life. The gospel of truth is Jesus, He is the definitive form of Truth. He is the Good News. All aspects of understanding the Gospel must therefore stem from a deeper understanding of Jesus.
Freedom in essence is not removal of restraint as freedom from obligation from certain laws. Freedom in its essence is freedom to be, to do that which is right, to freely choose the good. In fact it is freedom to bind ourselves to that which we choose. See Splendor of Truth and G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy for much better explanations.

report abuse


posted November 6, 2008 at 8:26 am

Freedom from laws – or freedom from the consequences of rebellion?
At this point it seems to me that the gospel Paul preaches is in response to the “problem” – also emphasized in Paul – of the consequences of rebellion against God. This freedom is no longer found by joining Israel (circumcision) but by following Jesus. Circumcision and Jewish identity are not bad (Paul has Timothy circumcised after all), but are not necessary to enter into the covenant of God with his people. The people of God are now defined not by Jewish ethnic identity and practice but by following the way of Jesus.
“Not a Gospel” from yesterday’s post is anything that adds to “following Jesus.”
My 2¢ from current thinking.

report abuse


posted November 6, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Hmmm, here’s my $.02: freedom is central because it is an essential component of God’s character. Being made in the image of God, when we are redeemed, this freedom which is part of our make-up is restored as well. I think that the problem with laws, religious practices, etc. is that they point us towards serving God from without rather than within. They encourage a reliance on ourselves and our obedience and our ability to follow properly rather than on a reliance on the Holy Spirit to renew us as image bearers. I’m really stuck on the Holy Spirit these days. Hmmmmm . . .

report abuse

non-metaphysical stephen

posted November 8, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I recall Jacques Ellul’s insistence that the gospel of Christ is a freedom so radical that most of us don’t really want it — hence, the gospel is scandalous even in the church. With Christ, we are not only freed from the powers of the world (death, sin, etc.), but also freed from the forces of necessity/determinism, etc., as well as free to create the future.
We are free to live our faith in Christ in whatever way seems best to us, free from the rules and regulations of religion and free for God’s service here on earth.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.