Today at our UCCF South East Team Days Peter Kingston, ex-Wycliffe Bible translator in Brazil, came to teach us about World Missions. The missions stuff was cool - basically an overview of God's mission in the Bible and some stuff on being sensitive. It was good. But better, was session 1 on what is the gospel - a key question for anyone doing missions.
I'm too tired to type it all up but basically we looked at the start of Romans 7 and the surrounding arguments and concluded that the essence of it was Union with Christ which is of course won for us at the Cross. From this everything else flows - life in the Spirit, eternal security, reigning in life, not having to sin etc. All of which our dying sinful nature tries to thwart by tempting us back.
But, union with Christ is better that everything else - its not like Islam that can offer you 70 virgins, or Buddhism that might offer nothingness, or Hinduism offering a shot at paradise... this is guarenteed getting everything as a free gift.... freedom from sin, freedom from trying, freedom from the struggle of climbing a ladder. It was life-giving stuff and connected a few dots more clearly than I had before, particularly in Romans. I need to think and live this more.
Like Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, the gospel is union with Christ.
Tomorrow, prayer and some early church history.