Here is an interesting thought. We tend to think of eternal life as the part of our existence that begins after our deaths. (How’s that for paradox. Existing after death.) And we think of relationship as affecting our current life. Yet Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God. (If anyone wants the specific quotation, let me know.) In other words, eternal life is our relationship with God.
So, the gospel, which most people associate with avoiding hell, is about our relationship with God. Our relationship concerns how we live now. If A= B and B = C, then the gospel really is about how we live our life now. (Just be thankful that our now is going to last a very, very, VERY long time.)
God wants us to have a life of relationship with him, resulting in people taking steps of obedience, resulting in fruit. Distortions in the gospel can occur when people add to how we enter into a relationship with God. This can also occur in how when practice that relationship.
God may proclaim a fast and we need to heed his voice. Someone else may proclaim a fast. God may or may not call us to participate in it. Our relationship comprises what optimizes our connection with God. Agreement with and participation in a good thing will not bring us closer to God. Still, God may call us into agreement with this good.
The gospel is not just about avoiding hell. This is about how to establish and live out a relationship with God. This gospel is about living in ways that:
- glorify God
- are free and truly human
- completely from our hearts, and
- fully joyful.
Being a Christian is more that avoiding hell and merely being good.