Sermonette: According to My Gospel
Charles Whitaker (1944-2021)
Given 25-Apr-20; 16 minutes
Paul's thrice-appearing formula, "... according to my gospel," does not support some theologian's contention that the apostle developed an idiosyncratic gospel distinct from the gospel which Christ preached (Mark 1:14). Paul's belief that there is only one gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), coupled with his frequent use of the terms "gospel of God" and "gospel of Jesus Christ" gives lie to the contention that his teachings diverged from those of Christ. His writings frequently attest to his dogged commitment to that one gospel and to the degree of his personal immersion into his God-given work as a minister. His use of the oxymoronic "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), juxtaposing the concept of sacrifice (with its implication of loss) with life, displays the degree to which he took ownership of the work God had given him. By offering two witnesses to his belief that he had "poured out" his life for the sake of the gospel (Philippians 2:17, II Timothy 4:6), Paul not only clarifies that the symbolic meaning of the wine in the libation offering is life but also restates his commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ in terms of the Old Covenant sacrifices. With the statement, "I die daily" (I Corinthians 15:31), he metaphorically points to the personal loss he experiences every hour of every day in order to carry on the work of preaching and teaching the gospel of God. The New Man is the individual who gives himself wholly to God's service, imitating the Forerunner's sacrifice in his life as well as in his death.