In our last post, we looked at identifying the fallen condition. Now we turn our attention to identifying what I will refer to as the gospel solution. By gospel solution, I mean:
the aspect(s) of the Gospel (i.e., the work of Jesus Christ) that are revealed (either explicitly or implicitly) in the text (the passage itself or the larger context) that provide the solution to the fallen condition
In other words, what we are trying to do is apply the benefits of the gospel to the specific fallen conditions that the text has identified. By the power of the Holy Spirit we seek to determine the specific aspects of the work of Christ that overcome the area(s) of sin we have identified. Note that sometimes the gospel solution is not found in the passage itself, but in the larger context of the book or even the canon.
So continuing with our previous post, let's look again at 1 Thess 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Here are the Fallen Conditions that I identified from the passage, but now I have included a corresponding gospel solution:
Hopefully that is enough of a taste to give you an idea of how this works. But essential to this process is a growing grasp of the gospel in all its richness. There is no substitute for reading and reflecting on Scripture itself. But a wonderful tool that will help you to do this is the book... A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love by Milton Vincent. Vincent does a wonderful job of not only summarizing different aspects of the gospel, but also explaining how those different aspects have practical, everyday life implications for the way that we think, feel, speak and act.
In our next post, we will look at what I refer to as the four aspects of application.
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Since 2006 Dr. Matthew S. Harmon has served as Professor of New Testament Studies at Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He is also a member of Christ’s Covenant Church, where he serves on the Preaching Team, leads a small group, and teaches regularly in their Life Education classes.
Find out more at his blog, Biblical Theology, which is a forum for all matters pertaining to biblical theology (and some entirely unrelated).
Follow him on Twitter: @DocHarmon