Our Good News: Christus Victor

Many people know that the word “gospel” comes from the world εὐαγγέλιον which means “good news” or “good tidings”. In our churches and in Christianity this word is so often used that it has become a buzzword amongst our brothers and sisters.

But, what exactly is that “good news” or “good tidings” that we are meant to bring to our neighbors?

There are many instances in the Bible that tell us what this good news is. Let’s look at one. Isaiah 52:7 says:

“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

In ancient times, long before instant communication by smart phones, nations relied on runners to deliver messages. During war time when armies ventured far from home to fight, messengers would run back to their country to deliver news about the battles.

With heaving lungs, they would return with a message of defeat or victory, catastrophe or peace.

In Isaiah, the prophet foresaw a time when messengers would proclaim victory: “Your God reigns!”

Christus Victor is Latin for “Christ the victorious” or “Christ is the conqueror”.

This is our good news.

Our good news isn’t that God has made a way to be your best self. Our good news isn’t that God will promise you a better life, or excellent health, or wealth.

Our good news is that our God reigns. He, through Jesus’ red sacrifice for our sins, vanquished sin from our lives and conquered the sting of death. He has slain the monster and crippled the beast. In so doing, Christ has set us free to love him and the world.

If we carry Christus Victor in our hearts it will change the way we think about the mission. Here are three ways that it can help us:

  1. Understanding Christus Victor will help focus our message to our neighbors.

We need to portray the Gospel correctly. We need to be weary of preaching a gospel that looks like moralistic-therapeutic deism. We also need to avoid preaching a gospel that puts us in the center. The gospel proclaims that Christ is King. He has been given all authority and he comes out with an invitation to surrender to his authority or to be vanquished along with his enemies.

  1. Savoring Christus Victor will give us courage and confidence to share the gospel bravely.

Often times we share the gospel as if it’s just another worldview in the market place for ideas. As a result, we try to “sell” Christianity, marketing it as hip or culturally relevant. These strategies can look smart and effective, but may really reflect insecurity and a lack of confidence in the gospel message.

The gospel is a spiritual truth and a message unseen yet becoming more real day by day, as the King of Glory approaches.

And if you are a Christian, be reminded that you are on the side of Christ the victorious. You are on the winning side! This should give us confidence that when people persecute us for our message, they do so to their own demise.

  1. Believing Christus Victor will compel us to share the gospel urgently and wholeheartedly.

If this is indeed our message, we will be compelled to share the gospel with our neighbors and friends. The gospel is the best news that has ever been sung and proclaimed. The battle against sin is over and our peace begins when we submit to the victor. Evil and death no longer reign. How could we restrain ourselves from sharing such good news? Believing in Christus Victor will compel us to share the gospel.

What We’re Reading Today


From Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together:

Because the Christian can no longer fancy that he is wise he will also have no high opinion of his own schemes and plans. He will know that it is good for his own will to be broken in the encounter with his neighbor. He will be ready to consider his neighbor’s will more important and urgent than his own…Is it not better to serve our neighbor than to have our own way?

 

The Knowledge of the Glory and the Sea


Habbakuk envisions the day that the knowledge of the glory of God will cover the sea. It was spoken of in prophecy. How He will complete that is through the message of the Gospel.

It is impossible to think about the sea without visualizing incomprehensible amounts of water. The aquatic life that never breaches the surface of the oceans is unaware that water is the essential and omnipresent reality of its world. Yet Habakkuk envisions a day when the knowledge of God’s glory will fill the world above the surface of the waters such that all of humanity will be consciously in awe of the one whose glory surpasses our comprehension.

Read the whole thing.

The Essentials of an Effective Church


The essentials of an effective church are the unseen things. Karl Vaters reminds us that an effective church is more than just a fancy website and a pastor who’s hip and wears skinny jeans.

There are only three essential elements for a church to be effective:

1. People who genuinely love Jesus

2. People who genuinely love each other

3. People who share that good news with others

No, that’s not a new list. If it was, they wouldn’t be essential. They’re a simple restatement of Jesus’ Great Commandment and Great Commission to love the Lord with all our heart, love our neighbor as ourself, and go make disciples

Read the whole thing.

What We’re Reading Today


From Alister E. McGrath’s Mere Apologetics: How To Help Seekers & Skeptics Find Faith:

Evangelism is different. It issues a personal invitation: ‘You are invited to the feast! Please come!’ Apologetics lays the ground for this invitation; evangelism extends it. Apologetics establishes and proclaims the plausibility and desirability of the gospel; evangelism summons people to enter into it and share in its benefits.

Slow Down to Accelerate

Becoming preoccupied with the best strategies, the best decision-making process or the best method can actually slow us down and eventually hinder us from focusing on what’s most important when it comes to becoming a missionary: the heart.

Ironically, to accelerate things, we must slow down. That’s because mission is ultimately God’s work. No matter how big the task, He is the one who does the heavy lifting; He is the one who brings acceleration. He does so not by accelerating tasks but by accelerating usHe doesn’t focus on tasks the way we do; He focuses on hearts.

Read the whole thing.